By GERARD WELLBROCK
Fort Hays State came up short in their effort to win their first conference series this season, losing 16-6 to Central Oklahoma Saturday in Edmond in a game called after eight innings by run rule. The loss gives the Tigers their fourth straight series split since losing nine straight. They are now 12-20 overall and 10-18 in the MIAA. The second-place Bronchos improve t0 24-9 and 19-9 in the conference.
The Broncos hit three doubles and took advantage of a Tiger error to take a 3-0 lead in the first. Central added another run in the second before Fort Hays State scored in the third on a James Denton home run to make it a 4-1 game.
UCO would answer with three home runs and score seven unearned runs in the bottom of the inning to go up 11-1. Reliever Steven Federau gave up a three-run homer and Nathan Zimmerman a three-run and two-run blast.
The Tigers would score three in the fourth on an Austin Unrein sac fly and James Denton two-run homer to close the gap to 11-4. It would remain that way until the sixth when UCO scored three. The Tigers avoided a run-rule with two in the top of the seventh on a Kevin Czarnecki single and Unrein double.
The Bronchos plated two in the eighth to end the game an inning early.
Kevin Czarnecki went 3-for-4 while James Denton drove in three and Austin Unrein two. Joe Mapes takes the loss. The Tiger starter allowed four runs, two earned, on five hits over two innings.