FAIRBORN — Junior first baseman Jay Luikart smashed two solo home runs and a two-run triple, leading Wright State to a 9-8 victory over Oakland in a Horizon League tourney elimination game Saturday afternoon.
Andrew Patrick clubbed a towering homer to left in the ninth — his school-record 18th of the year — for the game-winning run off HL reliever of the year Brandon Decker.
The Grizzlies, playing as the home team, managed only a single in bottom of the ninth.
The Raiders, looking for their league-high 10th tourney title, will have a winner-take-all rematch with the Grizzlies at Nischwitz Stadium at 4:15 p.m.. The first game started at noon and took three hours and 22 minutes, and the teams are allowed 50 minutes between games.
After losing two of their first three games while their bats stayed mostly quiet, the two-time defending champs (38-21) erupted for 13 hits.
They had just four players with multi-hit games in the first three outings but four alone in the win over Oakland (29-30): Luikart (3-for-6), Patrick (3-for-6), Gehrig Anglin (3-for-5) and Patrick Fultz (2-for-4).
The Raiders, who have won the last five HL regular-season titles, were in dire shape midway through their first game Saturday, falling behind, 6-3, in the fifth inning.
But they put two on for Luikart in the sixth, and he ripped a triple to left-center, scoring both runners.
Anglin tied it with a sacrifice fly.
They then loaded the bases for Boston Smith, who took a walk on four pitches for a 7-6 lead.
In the seventh, Patrick scored from second on a two-out wild pitch to make it 8-6.
But the Gizzlies (29-30), looking for their first tourney title, tied it, 8-8, in the bottom of the seventh with the help of a couple of Raider miscues.
A passed ball put a runner in scoring position and led to a run. And Smith, the left-fielder, misplayed a soft liner that turned into an RBI triple.
But Patrick saved the day — and the season — and took a jubilant trip around the basepaths when he did.