Two months ago Gabe Snyder hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to help send Wright State to an extra-inning victory against crosstown rival Dayton.
In position to be a hero again against the Flyers in the bottom of the ninth Tuesday night, Snyder didn’t make contact.
He didn’t have to.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Snyder watched four pitches miss the strike zone for a walk-off walk that sent WSU to a 5-4 victory at Nischwitz Stadium.
“That is certainly a first, but nonetheless very, very exciting,” Raiders coach Jeff Mercer said after watching his team improve to 33-15 with its 13th consecutive win against Dayton dating to 2009.
“You want to say all the right things and say every game matters the same, but this is an important game,” Mercer said. “I went to the University of Dayton and a couple of guys here were at UD. It’s a big game. Very, very important for us, and I’m proud of the guys for finding a way to have the fortitude to win the game late.”
UD (16-31) tied the game in the top of the ninth on Wright State’s second error, and Flyers reliever Tyler Henry retired the first two batters in the bottom of the ninth.
But Matt Morrow got on with a two-out walk, Zach Weatherford singled to left and JD Orr and Snyder drew back-to-back walks for the victory.
Derek Hendrixson (3-1) earned the win after blowing the save in the top of the ninth, but it was freshman Jorge Lozano who turned in the best outing for the Raiders.
After starter Chris Rodriguez gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings, Lozano, who had pitched eight innings all season, threw 4 2/3 shutout innings to keep the Raiders in striking distance.
“Jorge was absolutely terrific,” Mercer said. “He’s had some neck issues the last two weeks, but he came up to me (Monday) and said ‘I’m ready.’ And, buddy, he was right. He came out and he was terrific.”
Lozano struck out three and walked one and was in position to earn the win after sophomore Adrian Marquez drove in the tying run and was responsible for the go-ahead run.
Marquez’s RBI triple off the top of the wall in right scored Seth Gray to tie the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth. Two batters later Marquez got caught in a rundown on a comebacker to the mound, but he stayed alive long enough for batter Kevin Whatley to advance all the way to third.
Nick Weybright followed with an infield single to plate Whatley for a 4-3 advantage.
“We actually do practice that,” said Marquez, who also doubled and scored the first WSU run on a Morrow single in the second.
“We practice it for our pitchers on a pick play,” he added. “Our job is to stay in the pickle as long as possible. I was eyeballing (Whatley) around first, and then once he crosses second you have a sense of time how long you have to stay alive.”
Weatherford added an RBI when he got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the second, meaning the Raiders scored four of their five runs with two outs.
“I tell the guys all the time, great teams are better with two strikes and two outs,” Mercer said. “And we were better with two strikes and two outs tonight.”
Freshman Bryan Wood and sophomore Bailey Montana each went 2 for 4 with an RBI and run scored to lead UD, while Mitch Coughlin was 2 for 5 with two stolen bases.
The game wrapped the non-conference portion of the schedule for WSU, which heads into the weekend tied for first in the Horizon League. The Raiders play a doubleheader at Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Friday before facing co-leader Illinois-Chicago for two Saturday.