For the fifth straight year and 12th time in program history, the Wright State baseball team has advanced to the finals of the Horizon League Tournament, bouncing back from a 4-1 setback to UIC in the winner's bracket final to eliminate Oakland 12-4.
Against UIC, the Raiders tied the game at 1-1 with a run in the third. Brandon Giltrow led off with a double down the left field line, but was retired at third on a fielder's choice off the bat of Zach Weatherford. Weatherford then stole second and scored as Matt Morrow had a hit up the middle.
The Flames, however, took the lead for good with a run in the fifth and then added two unearned runs in the seventh to round out the scoring.
Weatherford, Cory Heffron and Adrian Marquez each had two hits to pace the WSU offense while on the mound, Danny Sexton (8-2) struck out six in seven innings.
In the second game of the day, Wright State came out strong with six runs over the first three innings, including RBI doubles by Morrow and Seth Gray in the third. The Raiders extended the lead to 10-1 with a run in the sixth and three more in the seventh, a frame highlighted by a Heffron two-run single.
WSU closed out the scoring with two runs in the eighth on a Heffron sacrifice fly and a Marquez RBI single.
Zane Collins (7-5) went 7.1 innings for the win, scattering seven hits and six walks while striking out four. Bear Bellomy pitched the final 1.2 innings, striking out three.
Offensively, Morrow had four hits and scored four times while Heffron had three RBI, Gabe Snyder two hits and two runs scored and Kevin Whatley chipped in two hits. Weatherford stole his 36 base of the season in the third inning, breaking the school record for steals in a season, previously held by Brian Bailey (35 in 1987).
The Raiders stole seven bases altogether in the contest, giving them 130 on the season, eclipsing the previous school record of 128, also set in 1987.
Wright State (38-20) will face UIC (38-15) for the championship Saturday starting at 2 pm Eastern. If the Raiders win the first game, a winner-take-all second game will follow at 6 pm. WSU is 6-5 all-time in the finals, having won titles in 1995, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2015 and 2016 and finishing second in 1997, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2014.