The Wright State baseball team’s 2021 season came to a close last weekend when the Raiders lost their first two games in the Knoxville Regional.
Ranked fourth in the regional, the Raiders lost a 9–8 heartbreaker to top-seeded and regional host Tennessee on June 4. The Volunteers rallied in the ninth inning to knock off the Raiders with a walk-off grand slam.
Wright State then fell to No. 2 seeded Duke 14–6 on June 5 in an elimination game.
Wright State finished the season with a 35–13 record and the team’s fourth Horizon League Championship in the last six seasons. The Raiders claimed both the regular season and 2021 Horizon League tournament titles. The Raiders rolled through the league tournament, outscoring their opponents 40–10 in three wins.
The Raiders’ appearance in the Knoxville Regional was the team’s ninth overall trip to the NCAA Division I tournament and the program’s first NCAA appearance since the 2018 Stanford Regional and the 2016 Louisville Regional.
Tennessee 9, Wright State 8
Despite five home runs, Wright State dropped the crucial opening game to regional host Tennessee.
Trailing 5-2 after three innings, the Raiders scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings before Quincy Hamilton’s three-run homer in the top of the seventh gave them the lead. Wright State added a solo homer from Alex Alders in the eighth to take an 8–5 advantage into the bottom of the ninth.
After a leadoff single and a flyout, Tennessee put runners on the corners with a second single before a walk loaded the bases with one out. Austin Cline’s 0-1 pitch to Drew Gilbert was sent over the right-field wall to give the hosts the walk-off victory.
The loss overshadowed a 10-hit, five-homer night for the Raider offense, with both Tyler Black and Alders each connecting on two home runs to go along with Hamilton’s shot. Black finished the night 4-for-5 with three RBI.
Duke 14, Wright State 6
Duke scored multiple runs in three different frames, including four runs in the third and a six-run fifth inning. Wright State scored single runs in each of the first four innings, but left 12 runners on base, including at least one in every frame and stranded two runners in three different innings.
Trailing by two heading into their first at-bat, the Raiders got on the board in the bottom of the first when Damon Dues reached with a leadoff single and advanced around the bases before scoring after a Duke throwing error on a ground ball off by Sammy Sass. Wright State tied the contest in the second when Alex Alders walked and scored on Justin McConnell’s RBI double down into the left-field corner.
Duke posted four runs in the top of the third on a pair of two-run homers before Tyler Black connected on his third home run of the weekend with his solo shot in the bottom of the third. A Raider error allowed a Blue Devil run in the top of the fourth before Wright State pushed across a run in the bottom of the frame when Konner Piotto scored on Quincy Hamilton’s RBI triple into the left-center gap. Duke responded with the six-run fifth behind three homers to open the margin up.
Hamilton and Piotto each finished with three hits to pace the Raider offense, while Dues finished with two hits.