Alex Sogard tabbed to lead WSU Baseball
FAIRBORN, Ohio - Alex Sogard, an assistant coach at Wright State for the last two years, was named the Raider head baseball coach, WSU Director of Athletics Bob Grant announced today. He replaces Jeff Mercer, who accepted the head coach position at Indiana University earlier this week.
The North Carolina State graduate primarily worked with the pitchers but was involved in all aspects of the program that has shown great recent growth, including the 2018 Horizon League regular-season and tournament titles and a berth to the NCAA Tournament. He was also instrumental in helping WSU to its first-ever top 100 recruiting class (87th) in 2018.
"Our baseball program is one of the top programs in the country, nationally known and respected - that is our mentality and our expectation level," Grant said. "Ron Nischwitz, Rob Cooper, Greg Lovelady and Jeff Mercer have all embraced this and have steered the program to this level. I have great confidence in Alex's ability to continue this tradition of excellence. His high character, work ethic, knowledge of the game and experience of playing at a high level have benefited our program and our student-athletes tremendously the last two years. He understands our PSA model and that the pillars of our program are personal development and over achievement. I could not be more excited for him to lead the RaiderGang."
In 2018 as the Raiders ended 39-17, 22-6, the pitching staff finished the season ranked nationally in earned run average, hits allowed per nine innings and WHIP. The Raiders also had three players hear their names called in the 2018 MLB draft, including two pitchers. Starting pitcher Ryan Weiss was selected in the 4th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks and 129th overall. Weiss posted a 9-2 record with one save and 92 strikeouts over 98 innings this past Spring. He was named to the All-Horizon League First Team and Second Team All-Region. Fellow starter Caleb Sampen was selected in the 20th round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Sampen went 5-0 record in 11 appearances with a 3.26 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 47.0 innings. Horizon League Player of the Year Gabe Snyder was taken in the 21st round by the Minnesota Twins.
"I'm excited and honored to be the head coach here at Wright State University," Sogard said. "I look forward to continuing the legacy that was passed on to me. 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. I'm very excited about this opportunity as we continue to elevate the tradition of the RaiderGang."
In his first season, the Raiders reached new heights as Wright State received its first-ever top 25 ranking, finishing 38-21, 21-9. The Raider pitching staff compiled a 3.70 ERA and broke the all-time WSU single season strikeout record with 423. Weiss posted an 8-1 record while Danny Sexton, who was signed by the San Diego Padres, went 8-2.
Raider baseball has been one of the most successful programs in the Midwest since 2006, advancing to six NCAA Tournaments that included the regional finals in 2015 and 2016. That stretch saw WSU win six Horizon League Tournament titles and five regular-season crowns. In the last four seasons, Wright State has beaten eight ranked teams, including #11 Miami (FL) in 2015, #8 North Carolina State and #20 Ohio State in 2016, #10 Clemson and #4 South Carolina in 2017 and #20 Louisiana twice this past season.
The left hander was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2010 in the 26th round of the MLB Draft and played seven seasons of professional baseball. In his first full season with the Astros organization, he led the Single A Lexington Legends in strikeouts. He advanced as high as AAA and was selected to play in the Arizona Fall League in 2012 (Mesa Solar Sox) and 2013 (Peoria Javelinas) with stints in the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles organizations as recently as 2016. Sogard worked as the pitching instructor for several elite camps, including the Pro 5 Academy in Raleigh, NC.
The 30-year-old started his collegiate playing career at Oregon State where OSU won back to back National Championships in 2006 and 2007 before moving to North Carolina State for his final three collegiate seasons. In 2008, Sogard closed the regional championship game against South Carolina to win the Raleigh Regional. Sogard was drafted by the Diamondbacks in 2008 in the 26th round of the NLB Draft but chose to stay in school, ultimately being drafted by the Astros in 2010. His career also includes playing in the World Baseball Classic for Team Czech Republic in 2012 in Germany and 2016 in Mexico. His brother, Eric, is a member of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Sogard is a 2010 graduate of North Carolina State with a B.S. degree in Science Technology with a specialty in Nutrition and Exercise Science.
He and his wife, Arlie, have two children, Fisher and Penny.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING
"I'm thrilled Alex will be leading Wright State baseball moving forward. Alex's values and ethics are unparalleled, he's a great baseball mind and is a leader of men. The RaiderGang is in great hands, he will carry on the traditions of developing successful young men and winning championships."--Jeff Mercer, Head Coach at Indiana (Former Wright State Head Coach)
"Let me start with Alex Sogard is one of the best people I've ever had the pleasure to coach. Alex is a tremendous husband, father, and where it all begins; a man of great faith. Alex's vast knowledge of the game has been shaped by his experiences at Oregon State, NC State, his brother's major league time, and his own professional career. This valuable history along with these past two seasons at Wright State has more than prepared Alex to lead his staff and student athletes at such a crucial stage in their lives. His consistency and work ethic led to three years of Alex pitching 50 innings each season at NC State along with a summer in the prestigious Cape Cod League. Wright State could not have made a better choice to assure continued success for years to come for the Raider fans. I'm extremely happy and proud of Alex and Arlie and the obvious respect they have earned in the Dayton community."--Elliott Avent, Head Coach at North Carolina State
"The second I found out the news that Soggy got promoted to be the head coach, I literally felt like I got drafted all over again. He's one of the best people that I've ever been around, and I definitely wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for him and his amazing family. To being in the minors for countless years, so close to making it to the bigs, to being a pitching coach at one of the top mid majors in the country for two years & then to become the head coach of that program is incredible on its own. He made himself a part of the RaiderGang family the second he got to campus and from then on all he has shown us is his passion for Wright State and his love for the game. Many pitching coaches have their set ways of doing things and they won't budge when a player asks them to do something different, with Coach it's different because he trusts his players. He deserves every bit of what's happened to him these past couple years & I personally couldn't see it any other way. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next couple years with him at the helm, it's going to be something special, and I think people should take notice."--Ryan Weiss, Former Raider, Currently in the Arizona Diamondbacks Organization
"I couldn't be happier for Alex. He's a first-class young man who will be incredibly dedicated and passionate about taking the Wright State program to new heights."--Pat Casey, Head Coach at Oregon State
"I think hiring Alex Sogard is a tremendous decision by Wright State University. I think he is the perfect person to lead that program and continue their successful tradition. He will continue to learn and grow, and I have no doubt the kids will love being around him. I am excited for Alex and Wright State Baseball."--Ben Orloff, Head Coach at UC Irvine