Raiders picked to win Horizon League
INDIANAPOLIS — The Wright State baseball team was picked first and four Raiders were named to the all-league team as the Horizon League released its preseason poll and team Wednesday afternoon. Head coaches at the seven schools conducted the voting.
Junior catcher Sean Murphy was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year and was joined on the preseason team by senior starting pitcher Jesse Scholtens, junior shortstop Mitch Roman and senior outfielder Ryan Fucci.
Murphy (Centerville), a Third Team Preseason All-American by both Perfect Game and D1 Baseball, was one of 20 semifinalists last season for the Johnny Bench Award, which is presented annually to the top collegiate catcher in the country. He earned First Team All-Horizon League honors as he hit .329, good for ninth in the league, with 36 RBI and 52 runs scored, good for fourth in the league. Behind the plate, Murphy threw out 17 would-be basestealers, 11 of those coming during league play. In 29 conference games, Murphy hit .325 with 18 RBI and 22 runs scored.
Murphy was named to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team in 2015 as he led the squad with nine hits and a .474 average and tied for the team lead with seven runs scored. He then was selected to the NCAA Champaign Regional All-Tournament Team as he hit .375 with five RBI, five runs scored, three doubles and a.474 on-base percentage.
Scholtens (Fairfield, Calif., Rodriguez) posted a 7-4 record with a league-leading 3.08 ERA in his first season at WSU, striking out a team-high 72 in 90.2 innings while holding the opposition to a .255 batting average. The 72 strikeouts ranked Scholtens third in the league, the seven wins tied for fourth and the .255 batting average was fourth.
Roman (Fishers, Ind. Hamilton Southeastern) hit .339 in his first season with Wright State after playing at Sinclair Community College in 2014. He drove in 41 runs, had 12 doubles and scored 47 runs while leading the league in hits with 86. After being selected to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team (.429, seven runs scored), Roman joined Murphy on the NCAA Champaign Regional All-Tournament Team as he hit .375 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Fucci (Lexington, Ky. Tates Creek) hit .288 while leading the Raiders in home runs (15) and RBI (49). The 15 home runs also tied for the league lead while his 49 RBI were third. Fucci, who was named to the Horizon League All-Tournament Team as he drove in a team-high eight runs in batting .429, also scored 48 times and added 15 doubles and 11 stolen bases.
Wright State won the Horizon League Tournament title in Whiting, Indiana, and made its fifth all-time appearance in the NCAA Division I Regionals in 2015, advancing to the finals for the first-time ever. The Raiders, who posted the second-most wins in a season in program history with 43, defeated Ohio and Notre Dame in Champaign, Illinois, for their first NCAA victories since 1994 and received votes in the final USA Today Coaches and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association polls.
WSU opens the regular season this weekend with a four-game series at Elon University (N.C.). The Raiders and Phoenix will play single games on Friday (4 p.m.) and Sunday (1:30 p.m.) with a Saturday doubleheader in between (1 p.m.).
The home opener for Wright State is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 8, against Xavier at Nischwitz Stadium.
Central State wins in Alabama
MOBILE, Alabama — Traveling over 700 miles to take on the Badgers of Spring Hill College, Central State came up with big baskets and defensive stops down the stretch in a 66-64 win on Thursday night.
Brianye’ Copeland led CSU with 12 points on the night. Ghameerah McCullers and Sierra Harley each scored 10 points. Meshia Smith had eight points and four blocks. Shannon DeFoe and Kourtni Perry chipped in with six points each as CSU evened its overall record to 12-12 on the season and 5-9 in conference play.
Spring Hill was paced by 13 points from Camry Johnson. With the loss, the Badgers fell to 10-15 on the year and 8-8 in Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play.
Central State travels to Memphis, Tennessee to play LeMoyne-Owen at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Marauders hang on for win
MOBILE, Alabama — Central State used a brilliant first half performance from Jeremy Brown, a sensational second half from Tre’ Edwards and Sterling Gilmore’s clutch free throw shooting to top Spring Hill College, 61-59, on Thursday night.
Brown, a sophomore from Indianapolis, Indiana, scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the first 20 minutes of play, sparking CSU runs of 10-2 and 8-2 and helping the Marauders to a healthy 33-20 lead at halftime. Brown converted 8 of 11 field goals in the first half and CSU enjoyed the best shooting half of basketball all season, converting 57% of their shots.
With five seconds left, Gilmore, who leads the SIAC in free throw percentage, calmly knocked down both free throws to put his team up, 61-59. CSU forced a Badger turnover on the next possession to seal to victory and the sweep of the season series.
Brown’s 23 points were a game-high. He also finished with a team leading 6 rebounds. Edwards tacked on a game-high 3 steals to go with his 15 points.
With the win, Central State improves to 10-13 overall and 8-8 in SIAC competition.
Sawyer Glick and Quinn Sutton led SHC with 12 points each. The Badgers fall to 7-18 overall and 6-11 in conference play.
Central State travels to Memphis, Tennessee to play LeMoyne-Owen at 3 p.m., Saturday.