Wright State University has stayed with its proven baseball formula, promoting Alex Sogard to head coach.
Previously a Raiders assistant, he succeeds former WSU head coach Jeff Mercer, who was named Indiana’s head coach earlier this week. Wright State announced Sogard’s promotion on Friday.
“I look forward to continuing the legacy that was passed on to me,” Sogard said in a statement. “I’m very excited about this opportunity as we continue to elevate the tradition of the RaiderGang.”
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Sogard is only the seventh head coach in the history of the program. Mercer and Greg Lovelady, who Mercer succeeded and is now the head coach at Central Florida, both were Raiders assistants before being promoted. Other WSU head baseball coaches were John Ross, Don Mohr, Ron Nischwitz and Rob Cooper, now Penn State’s coach.
Sogard, 30, was primarily the Raiders’ pitching coach the last two seasons. WSU was nationally ranked as a pitching staff in ERA, hits allowed per nine innings and WHIP this past season.
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The WSU position opened when Mercer left after guiding the Raiders the last two seasons. Both those WSU teams qualified for the NCAA Division I tournaments. Wright State was 39-17 overall last season and won the Horizon League title (22-6).
Wright State lost at top-seeded Stanford and was eliminated by Baylor in this past season’s Stanford Regional. It was the six NCAA appearance by the Raiders since 2006 and third in the last four seasons.
“Our baseball program is one of the top programs in the country, nationally known and respected - that is our mentality and our expectation level,” WSU athletic director Bob Grant said in a statement. “I have great confidence in Alex’s ability to continue this tradition of excellence.”
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Three Raiders were taken in last month’s Major League Baseball draft, including two pitchers, redshirt-sophomore right-hander Ryan Weiss (Diamondbacks, 4th round) and redshirt-sophomore right-hander Caleb Sampen (Dodgers, 20th round). Also drafted was redshirt-senior first baseman Gabe Snyder (Twins, 21st round).
Richmond, Indiana, product and outfielder Matt Morrow signed as a free agent with the Pirates last month. He was first team All-Horizon League in three of four seasons as a Raider.
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Sogard was a member of Oregon State’s consecutive NCAA national championship baseball teams in 2006-07. He finished his collegiate pitching career at North Carolina State. He was initially drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2008 but instead completed a bachelor’s degree in science technology with a specialty in nutrition and exercise. He also was drafted by the Astros in 2010 and played seven minor-league seasons, advancing to Class AAA.
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“I’m excited and honored to be the head coach here at Wright State University,” Sogard said. “Coach Nischwitz, Coach Cooper, Coach Lovelady and Coach Mercer have created the foundation of success at Wright State, and I am grateful to follow in their footsteps.”
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Sogard’s older brother, infielder Eric Sogard, was designated for assignment by the Brewers on Thursday.
WSU has retained assistant coaches Matt Talarico and Nate Metzger and development coordinator Diamyn Hall.