Softball splits at Pittsburg State; Wright’s home run proves difference in Game 1


FHSU Sports Informaton

Fort Hays State closed out its eight-game road trip with a split at Pittsburg State on Saturday.  FHSU won the first game, 6-5, in nine innings before falling in the second game, 11-3, in five innings.

FHSU is now 26-17 overall and 15-9 in the MIAA, while PSU is stayed at .500 (23-23) overall and moved to 9-13 in the conference.

The Tigers are idle until Saturday, April 26, when they return to Tiger Stadium for a doubleheader with Nebraska-Kearney.

Game 1: FHSU 6, PSU 5 (9 innings)
Tied at five after seven innings, Fort Hays State pulled off a comeback win with Callie Wright’s game-winning home run in the ninth, defeating Pittsburg State 6-5 in the first game of a doubleheader.

Paxton Duran (16-7) grabbed the win from the circle, tossing all nine innings with five runs allowed on eight hits, striking out eight and walking just one batter.  After giving up five runs in the opening five frames, Duran threw shutout ball from the sixth inning on to set FHSU up for the comeback.

Offensively, Amanda Vaupel was 2-for-4 with an RBI double and five other Tigers had hits, including Wright’s solo home run.

PSU took a 3-0 lead in the first on a three-run blast.  Tiffany Brown walked and McKenzie Rynard singled before Nicole Nease took a ball just over the left field fence.

In the second, FHSU struck back with a run of its own, using Vaupel’s two-out RBI double that scored Kylie Strand, who reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning.

The Tigers tied the game in the third, taking advantage of a PSU error and a timely single from Samantha Villarreal with two outs.  Kellsi Olse drew a leadoff walk and took second on Bianca Adame’s sacrifice bunt.  After Courtney Dobson walked, Danie Brinkmann grounded into a fielder’s choice at third base, but when going for the double play, an overthrow from Kylie Guthier allowed Dobson to wheel around to the plate and Brinkmann moved to second.  Villarreal followed with a single up the middle, driving a 3-2 pitch into center to push Brinkmann home, tying it at 3-3.

After giving up the early lead, PSU regained control (5-3) in the fourth with an RBI double from Kylie Harpst, who, after moving to third on a throw to the plate, later scored on a wild pitch.

FHSU again climbed back to knot the game in the fifth, using three hits and a PSU error for two runs.  Adame singled through the left side for the first hit of the inning, and after stealing second during Dobson’s at-bat, Dobson singled to deep short, putting runners on first and second with no outs.  Brinkmann’s fly ball landed just out of reach of the left fielder, allowing Adame to sprint home after pausing to tag up.  After Amy Dunn pinch ran for Brinkmann, a double steal during Villarreal’s moved both runners into scoring position.  Strand’s fly ball to right was caught in fair territory, but the throw in skipped off first baseman Alex Perez’s glove, giving Dobson a window to dash home and tie the game.

After three full innings of scoreless ball, FHSU’s Wright gave the Tigers their first lead of the day in the ninth with a game-winning solo blast to left center.  The home run was her second of the weekend after providing the game winner against Missouri Southern in Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheader.

Game 2: PSU 11, FHSU 3 (5 innings) 
Fort Hays State held an early lead but couldn’t hold on, dropping an 11-3 contest in five innings to split the doubleheader.

Kelsey Kimminau (9-7) took the loss, throwing 2.0 innings and giving up six runs (five earned) on nine hits, striking out two.  Katelyn Kern entered in the third, throwing 0.2 innings and allowing four runs (one earned). Paxton Duran got the final out in the third, though she was tagged for a run on two hits in the process. Jordan Jones threw the fourth in shutout fashion, striking out two.

Callie Wright was 2-for-2 at the plate with two RBI and two doubles, while Courtney Dobson went 1-for-2 with an RBI.

For the second time on the day, PSU took an early lead (1-0) as Brenna George came home on a two-out error, but the Tigers struck back soon after, scoring two in the second for a 2-1 lead.

Kylie Strand reached on an error to start the inning and took second on Rilee Krier’s bunt single. Both runners moved up on Vaupel’s sacrifice bunt, and with one out, Wright continued her clutch hitting of late with an RBI double to left center, scoring Strand and Krier.

In the top of the third, Pitt State regained the lead (5-2) with four runs on six hits, including a three-RBI double from Cheslyn Mitchell.  The Gorillas’ pushed that advantage to nine in the third, stringing together five hits and using an FHSU error to take an 11-2 lead.

Needing two runs to extend the game for FHSU, Wright doubled to left center to start the inning, and Kelli Koehler (who pinch ran for Wright), took third on Olsen’s ground out.  Later in the inning, Koehler came home on Dobson’s single, but it wasn’t enough for the game to continue due to the eight-run rule.