Raiders open Blacksburg Regional against #4 Virginia Tech Friday night - Wright State University Athletics (2022)

DAYTON — The Wright State baseball program will open the Blacksburg Regional against No. 4 Virginia Tech on Friday, June 3, at 7 p.m. ET. The fourth matchup of the year between the two schools will air on ACC Network. Live stats will also be available.

Joining Wright State and Virginia Tech in the four-team regional bracket is No. 2 seed Gonzaga and No. 3 seed Columbia. English Field at Atlantic Union Bank Park will host the entirety of the regional. The winner of the Blacksburg Regional will face the winner of the Gainesville Regional in a potential Super Regional, hosted by No. 13 overall seed Florida.

Game 1 - Friday, June 3 - 7 p.m. ET - Watch - Live Stats - Championship Central
Game 2 - TBD
Game 3 - TBD

LAST TIME OUT
Last Saturday, Wright State clinched its 10th NCAA Division I appearance with a 24-0 victory over No. 2 seed Oakland in the 2022 Horizon League Championship at Nischwitz Stadium. The Raiders set single-game tournament records in runs scored, largest shutout margin (24), doubles (8), and RBI (23) in the blowout victory. WSU took down Northern Kentucky 18-4 in the tournament's quarterfinals and proceeded to defeat Oakland 14-3 in the semifinals.

The Raiders outscored opponents 56-7 in its three HL Championship wins, including a tournament-record 11 home runs. Zane Harris finished with tournament MVP honors after batting 10-for-13 (.769) on the week with four doubles, two homers, 17 RBI, and nine runs scored. In addition to Harris, Gehrig Anglin, Jay Luikart, Andrew Patrick, Justin Riemer, Sammy Sass, and Alec Sayre were selected to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Alec Sayre earned Horizon League Player of the Year honors, marking the fourth straight awards season that Wright State has captured HL Player of the Year honors, following Quincy Hamilton in 2021, Peyton Burdick in 2019, and Gabe Snyder in 2018. Awards were not presented due to COVID-19 and the cancellation of the 2020 season. Wright State has won nine Player of the Year honors overall, all since the 2007 season.

Sayre is hitting .361 with 17 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs, and 52 RBI with 60 runs scored. He leads the Horizon League in batting average, runs, hits (79), and OPS (1.034) while possessing top-five HL marks in slugging percentage (2nd, .584), on-base percentage (2nd, .450), doubles (2nd, 17), RBI (3rd), home runs (3rd), and walks (34, 5th). In conference-only action, he led the HL in home runs (8), RBI (32), and runs (33).

AWARDS SEASON
Wright State received a conference-high 10 Horizon League honors, as the league office announced its yearly awards on May 24.Gehrig Anglin and Julian Greenwell joined Alec Sayre on the All-League First Team, while Zane Harris, Jay Luikart, Jake Shirk, and Alex Theis were Second Team recipients. Sebastian Gongora, Andrew Patrick, and Justin Riemer collected All-Freshman Team honors.

NATIONAL ATTENTION
Entering the regional, Wright State possesses top-100 national marks in shutouts (10th, 6), walks (16th, 301), scoring (29th, 7.9), triples (39th, 17), slugging percentage (39th, .486), runs (43rd, 437), home runs (45th, 79), on-base percentage (49th, .395), strikeouts per inning innings (87th, 9.1), and stolen bases (88th, 70).

Individually, Alex Theis ranks fifth in the country with 13.50 strikeouts per nine innings. Zane Harris sits sixth nationally with six sacrifice flies, while Julian Greenwell ranks 25th in triples (5).

SO WE MEET AGAIN
The Raiders and Hokies met for the first-ever time in March 2022. WSU took the opener over previously unbeaten Virginia Tech 11-5 before dropping the next two games of the series. Wright State batted .294 in the series with 15 runs on 32 hits. Gehrig Anglin batted .400 over three games with two home runs and three RBI. Andrew Patrick went 4-for-10 (.400) at the plate with two doubles and four RBI. Garret Simpson had one of his best outings against the Hokies, limiting the home squad to just one run on three hits and no walks while striking out four batters in 4.2 innings. Wright State has never faced Columbia and Gonzaga in regular season or postseason play.

HOME RUN KING
Gehrig Anglin belted his 16th home run of the season in WSU's 12-8 win at Milwaukee (5/20), which tied the single-season school record held by Nick Shields ('01) and Bryan Vickers (' 04). He entered the 2022 campaign with three home runs over four seasons but has slugged 16 homers in 201 at-bats this year.

The redshirt junior leads the HL in home runs and slugging percentage (.597) while ranking second in OPS (1.014), fourth in runs (48), and fifth in RBI (48).

STUDENT-athletes
WSU had a 3.22 team grade point average in the 2022 spring semester, including 29 individuals with a GPA above 3.00. Dating back to 2012, the Raiders have accumulated a team GPA of 3.00 or higher in 19 of their last 20 semesters.

HE GETS ON BASE
On the season, Julian Greenwell is batting .315 with 15 doubles, five triples, eight home runs, and 48 RBI. He leads the conference in triples and hit by pitch (14) while holding top-five conference marks in runs (3rd, 51), OPS (3rd, 1.009), walks (3rd, 35), on-base percentage (4th, .446), slugging percentage (5th, .563), and RBI (5th).

HE CAN DO IT ALL
Jay Luikart is batting .297 with 14 doubles, three triples, 10 homers, 30 RBI, and 48 runs. He is also is 4-1 as WSU's closer with a team-low 1.93 ERA and seven saves in 18.2 innings. The Ashland, Ohio native possesses top-five HL marks in triples (2nd), saves (2nd), home runs (3rd), walks (3rd, 35), and runs (4th).

POWER SURGE
In May, Andrew Patrick batted .358 with four doubles, one triple, seven home runs, and 13 RBI. He opened the month by homering in three-straight games, highlighted by a career-high two roundtrips against YSU (5/1). The freshman boosted his batting average from .232 to .273 and his slugging percentage from .304 to .485. in the 16-game stretch.

RUNS FOR DAYS
Wright State sits 29th nationally with a conference-best 7.9 runs per game. The top-five individual run-scorers in the HL sport the Green & Gold, led by Alec Sayre in first with 60 runs. The Raiders have pushed across double-digit runs in a league-leading 20 games. WSU is 19-1 overall in games with 10-plus runs.

RBI KING
Zane Harris has driven in a conference-leading 61 RBI in 54 starts this season. The sixth-year senior has totaled 191 career RBI, ranking second in school history. After a quiet start to the year, the senior has batted .354 with 11 doubles, two triples, six home runs, and 54 RBI over his last 36 games.

PATIENT AT THE PLATE
The Raiders have walked 301 times through 55 games, good for 16th nationally and first in the conference. WSU drew a season-high 13 free passes in its series finale against NKU (3/27).

PLAYING LIKE AN ACE
Starting pitcher Jake Shirk is tied for the conference lead in wins with six. He also ranks fourth in innings pitched (83.0), ninth in opponent batting average (.272), and 10th in strikeouts (63). The sophomore was held opponents to four or fewer runs in five-plus innings in eight starts.

HE'S JUST A FRESHMAN
Starting pitcher Sebastian Gongora went 5-0 with a 4.63 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 56.1 innings against Horizon League opponents. The redshirt freshman ranks sixth in the conference in strikeouts (78) and innings pitched (78.0) and seventh in opponent batting average (.265). He tossed a three-hit shutout against YSU (4/3) and punched out a season-high 10 batters in just five innings at NKU (3/26).

PITCHING EXCELLENCE
Starting pitcher Alex Theis is 6-1 with a 3.14 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 57.1 innings. The redshirt junior led the Horizon League in ERA (2.41), opponent batting average (.221), strikeouts looking (21), fewest runs allowed (13), and fewest home runs allowed (1) in HL-only games. He fired five shutout innings in WSU's 24-0 win over Oakland in the Horizon League Championship title game.

ACTIVE STREAKS
Anglin » 9-game reached base streak
Riemer » 7-game reached base streak
Anglin » 7-game hitting streak
Luikart, Sass & Sayre » 5-game hitting streak
Sass & Sayre » Run scored in five-straight games
Sayre » RBI in five-straight games
McConnell » 5-game reached base streak
Luikart » 4-straight scoreless appearances
Gongora » Three or fewer earned runs allowed in five-straight starts

"POWER 5" DOMINANCE
After defeating Virginia Tech on March 4, Wright State has knocked off a "Power Five" conference program 19 times since 2014.

2/16/14 — vs. Michigan State (Neutral Site) — W, 7-1
3/1/14 — at #4 Oregon State — W, 6-2
2/22/15 - at #18 Ole Miss — W, 3-1
3/1/15 — at #11 Miami — W, 12-6
5/31/15 — vs. Notre Dame (NCAA Regional) — W, 4-0
2/26/16 — at #8 NC State — W, 10-8
3/5/16 — at Georgia — W, 3-1
6/5/16 — vs. #20 Ohio State (NCAA Regional) — W, 7-3
2/17/17 — at #10 Clemson — W, 6-4
2/19/17 — at #10 Clemson — W, 9-2
2/26/17 — at #4 South Carolina — W, 5-1
3/5/17 — vs. Pittsburgh (Neutral site) — W, 3-1
2/16/19 — at #10 Ole Miss — W, 9-5
2/24/19 — at #19 Oklahoma State — W, 5-4
4/3/19 — at Indiana — W, 15-4
2/19/20 — at #1 Louisville — W, 10-3
3/6/20 — at #11 Tennessee — W, 5-4
3/8/20 — at #11 Tennessee — W, 6-3
3/4/22 — at Virginia Tech — W, 11-5

PRESEASON ATTENTION
The Raiders were projected to win the Horizon League in the conference's annual preseason poll, collecting 42 points and six first-place votes, ahead of UIC in second with 35 points. WSU also topped the D1Baseball.com preseason poll, in addition to Sammy Sass tabbing preseason Player of the Year and Andrew Patrick earning preseason Freshman of the Year.

TOP PROSPECTS
D1Baseball listed several WSU players as top positional and overall prospects ahead of the 2022 season. A pair of returners in Logan Tabeling and Alec Sayre were listed as top 250 prospects for the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft. Sammy Sass was ranked 17th among D1 catchers, while Sayre checked in as the 19th-best outfielder. Zane Harris was listed as the No. 21 first baseman in the site's positional rankings.

COACHING SUCCESS
Alex Sogard, the seventh-youngest active head coach in Division I baseball, is 110-64 at the helm of the Raiders. Among fourth-year D1 coaches entering the season, he possessed the top winning percentage (.680), fewest losses, and third-most wins. Sogard collected 2021 ABCA/ATEC East Coach of the Year honors after guiding WSU to the 2021 Knoxville Regional. The Phoenix, Arizona, native led the Raiders to a 42-17 record in 2019, the most wins by a first-year head coach in program history. Wright State beat three ranked teams in 2019 and took down top-ranked Louisville in the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign before going 35-13 in 2021 on the way to the Horizon League regular season and tournament titles. In June 2021, Sogard was named to the 2021 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team coaching staff.

LEADING THE NATION
Wright State led Division I baseball in the following statistical categories a season ago:

» Batting average (.339)
» Doubles per game (2.71)
» On-base percentage (.447)
» Scoring (10.5)
» Slugging percentage (.579)
» Quincy Hamilton - Bases on balls per game (1.17)
» Quincy Hamilton - Runs per game (1.62)

WSU TO THE MAJORS
Wright State saw three total players selected in Major League Baseball's 2021 first-year player draft, along with another two signing free agent contracts. The three selections, all inside the top 10 rounds, give the Raiders 16 total draftees over the last seven drafts dating back to 2015 and 40 total players in program history.

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