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Tigers split a pair of one-run games at Central Oklahoma

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FHSU Sports Information

Fort Hays State baseball split a pair of games decided by one run on Saturday at Central Oklahoma, dropping game one 2-1 before winning game two 5-4. Fort Hays State moved to 12-19 overall and 10-17 in the MIAA with the split, while UCO moved to 23-9 overall, 18-9 in the MIAA.

Game 1: Central Oklahoma 2, Fort Hays State 1
Following a slugfest on Thursday afternoon that saw the Tigers and Bronchos combine for 40 runs, the teams locked up in a pitcher’s duel in the first game on Friday, pitting Ricky Reeves of UCO against Tyler Patty of FHSU.

The Bronchos took the lead in the second inning with a fielder’s choice RBI from Wacey Henderson. The Bronchos collected three hits through the first three innings, but Patty held them hitless in the fourth and fifth, keeping the game at 1-0 in favor of UCO through five innings.

Reeves of UCO had a no-hitter going through 5.2 innings, but FHSU made UCO pay for an error at the start of the sixth as Gus Strunk broke up the no-no with a two-out RBI double to tie the game 1-1.

Patty looked as though he’d get the Tigers to the seventh still knotted at 1-1 by getting the first two batters of the sixth out, but UCO rallied with a walk and then a pair of singles to make it 2-1. Brad Lamberti had the go-ahead RBI single for the Bronchos.

Horace Johnson led off the seventh with a single and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Czarnecki but the Tigers could not get the tying run across falling by a run.

In his 6.0 innings of work, Patty allowed two runs on five hits, walked three, and struck out two. Reeves went 6.1 innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits and struck out five. Phillip Wilson got the final two outs of the game for UCO to pick up the save.

Game 2: Fort Hays State 5, Central Oklahoma 4
Fort Hays State starting pitcher Austin Unrein had a great outing in the second game to help the Tigers gain a split with Bronchos in Friday’s doubleheader. After allowing one run in the first inning, Unrein settled in to hold UCO scoreless for five consecutive innings.

The Tiger offense took advantage of an error that would have ended the top of the second inning, but it resulted in a run scoring to tie the game. Clayton Garland then made the error hurt by driving a single back up the middle to score two more runs and make it 3-1 in favor of FHSU.

With Unrein keeping the Bronchos off the board, the Tigers tacked on two more in the top of the seventh. Cooper Langley had a double, then Gabe Cook followed that with an RBI triple and James Denton knocked him in with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1 Tigers with just a half inning to go in the game.

Like they did on Thursday, the Bronchos did not go away without a fight. Unrein walked the first batter in the seventh, which ended his day on the mound. Gabe Cook came in looking to shut the door. Cook got the first batter he faced looking at strike three, but then he gave up a double and then a single, making it 5-2. A walk loaded the bases, then a groundout pushed another run across making it 5-3 with runners at second and third. A wild pitch allowed another run to come in and the Tigers were clinging to a 5-4 lead. On a 3-2 count, Cook got the batter to line out to first base and end the game.

Unrein improved to 3-1 on the season with the win. He allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks, while striking out one. Cook allowed two runs on two hits and a walk with one strikeout.

Mason Justice took the loss for UCO, going 3.0 innings. All three of his runs allowed in the second were unearned. He allowed five hits and three walks, but struck out six. Tanner Ferrell gave up the final two runs to the Tigers in the seventh.

The Tigers look to take three out of four games in the series on Saturday (Apr. 5) when the teams meet at 12 pm.

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