FHSU softball splits on day 1 of Minnesota-Duluth Invitational

FHSU Sports Information

No. 14 Fort Hays State split its first two games of the Minnesota-Duluth Invitational on Sunday in St. Paul, Minn.  FHSU fell to the University of Mary, 5-3, before defeating Minot State in extra innings, 6-5.

The Tigers’ final game of the day (against Minnesota Duluth) will be continued tomorrow (Feb. 24) due to time constraints at the tournament facility.  The game will start prior to the originally scheduled Day 2 matchup between FHSU and UMD at 11 a.m., with action picking up in the top of the sixth.  FHSU trailed, 3-2 at the time the game was called.

The Tigers will also take on Minot State at 9am on Monday (Feb. 24) in the tournament’s final day.

A complete recap of today’s games is below…

University of Mary 5, Fort Hays State 3
Fort Hays State fell behind early and couldn’t recover, dropping a 5-3 contest to U-Mary in the first game of the Minnesota Duluth Invitational.

FHSU’s Sarah Cochran (0-1) took the loss, throwing just 0.1 innings and allowing two runs on two hits with two walks. Kelsey Kimminau threw the remainder of the game, tossing 5.2 innings with three runs earned on eight hits.  Kimminau had four strikeouts.

At the plate, Kellsi Olsen (1-for-3) had a home run, while Amanda Vaupel (1-for-3) and Kylie Strand (1-for-3) each had ground rule doubles.

U-Mary jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first two innings, scoring two runs on just one hit in the first – leaving the bases loaded – and one run on three hits in the second.

In the third, FHSU struck back to pull within two, as Olsen’s one-out solo shot cleared the center field wall.

The climb back continued for the Tigers in the fourth, started with a back-to-back walks from Danie Brinkmann and Tori Beltz.  With one out, Vaupel hit a ground-rule double to right center, scoring Kelli Koehler (who pinch ran for Brinkmann) and moving Madison Putman (who pinch ran for Beltz) to third.  Two quick outs followed, however, and the threat ended with FHSU trailing, 3-2.

U-Mary tacked on another run in the fourth, as Kristin Ormsby’s RBI double scored Alana Norman.

Down 4-2, FHSU moved back into striking distance in the sixth with another run – manufactured with two outs.  Dobson singled to center field and moved to second on Vaupel’s walk.  From there, a ground-rule double from Strand plated Dobson, but only allowed Vaupel to move to third.  After Amy Dunn walked to load the bases, U-Mary picked up a strikeout to end the rally.

The Marauders’ run in their half of the sixth put the game out of reach, sending it to final at 5-3.

Fort Hays State 6, Minot State 5 (8 innings)
Fort Hays State needed extra innings, but pulled off the comeback to defeat Minot State, 6-5, in the second game of the Minnesota-Duluth Invitational.

Paxton Duran moved to 5-0 for the season in the circle, throwing the final 7.0 innings with six strikeouts.  Duran allowed three runs on five hits in relief of Kimminau, who started the game.  Kimminau worked just one inning, allowing two runs on one hit with three walks.

Offensively, the Tigers’ Brinkmann was 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Bianca Adame finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Dobson went 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

Minot State used a two-run home run from Katie Backes in the second to score first, taking a lead that held until the bottom of the third.

In the Tigers’ half of the second, Dobson led off with a double down the right field line.  With one out, Strand grounded out to third base, and as Dobson advanced to third base, an errant throw from Minot’s Melissa Bell allowed the Dobson to come home.

FHSU tied the game at 2-2 in the third, starting with Adame’s one-out single up the left field line.  During Rilee Krier’s at-bat, Adame stole second, and then moved to third as Krier reached on a bunt single.  Krier followed by stealing second herself, and a squeeze play from Brinkmann scored Adame.

Adame led off the fifth inning with her second single of the day, stole second and moved to third on Krier’s sacrifice bunt.  With one out, Brinkmann singled through the left side to plate Adame.

The Beavers’ regained in the lead in the sixth however, with a three-run effort.  Jordan Grant’s triple picked up two RBI, and a sacrifice fly from Rachel Burdette later scored Grant, putting Minot ahead, 5-3.

Down to its last chance, Fort Hays State started the seventh with two straight bunt singles from Adame (who stole second) and Krier, leaving runners on second and third with no outs.  Brinkmann picked up an RBI by scoring Adame on a ground ball to shortstop, but an error by Sarah Nicks (Minot) allowed Krier to cross the plate as well – knotting the game at 5-5.

With the international tie-breaker rule in effect, FHSU snagged a victory in the bottom of the eighth.  Dobson was placed on second to start the inning, and moved to third on Vaupel’s sacrifice bunt.  Two straight walks to Strand and Duran loaded the bases, and Samantha Villareal’s sacrifice fly out to right field was just deep enough to score Dobson, ending the game.

Minnesota-Duluth 3, Fort Hays State 2 after 5 innings (Game will continue at 11am Monday)
The Tigers’ final game of Day 1will be continued tomorrow (Feb. 24) due to time constraints at the tournament facility.  The game will start prior to the originally scheduled Day 2 matchup between FHSU and UMD at 11 a.m., with action picking up in the top of the sixth.  FHSU trailed, 3-2 at the time the game was called.  The Tigers will bat first as they are the away team in the contest.