EMPORIA, Kan. – The Fort Hays State baseball team earned a split with Emporia State on Monday (March 11) at Trusler Sports Complex. The Tiger bats came alive in the first contest, taking it by a score of 10-5, before falling in the night cap, 12-4. Because the series was originally scheduled as a home series for the Tigers, Fort Hays State played as the home team in both games. The Tigers moved to 2-15 overall and 2-7 in conference play, while the Hornets moved to 9-7 on the year and 6-3 in MIAA action.
Game One: Fort Hays State 10, Emporia State 5
The Hornets started the scoring in the second inning with a solo shot to left center off starter Ryan Ruder. In the home half, the Tigers were able to plate two runs themselves when Taylan Mullins-Ohm led off the frame with a single to right center. He came around to score after Jared Maneth blooped an RBI single to centerfield. The next batter, Landon Erway roped a double to left, scoring Maneth from first. FHSU took a 2-1 advantage into the third.
Emporia State pushed across two more runs in the third to regain the lead, 3-2. Ruder was able to strand two runners on base in the fourth before the Tigers were able to steal the lead once again, this time 4-3. Mullins-Ohm reached base for the second time with another single, then advanced to second when Ryan Stoecklein drew a walk. Garrett Francis reached on a Hornet error and Mullins-Ohm made his way back to home plate. Maneth pushed the Tiger lead to one run again after lifting a sacrifice fly to left field, plating Stoecklein.
Ruder was able to shut down the Hornets working around a single in the fifth. FHSU blew the game wide open in the home half when the Tigers were able to push across five runs. Three hits and a bases-loaded walk chased the Hornet’s starting pitcher, Ryan Lee. With the bases still juiced, Maneth earned his third and fourth RBI in the contest after lifting a single to right field. The Tigers weren’t done, however, as Erway roped a double down the right field line, playing Francis. Then Cody Starkel was able to sneak an RBI single through the left side of the infield, scoring Maneth.
An ESU home run to center cut the deficit to five runs in the sixth. Two innings later, Mullins-Ohm capped off the Tigers scoring after lifting a fly to left field, scoring Starkel. The Hornets picked up another run in the ninth before Jake Steinbring shut down ESU with a strikeout, ending the game and giving the Tigers their second conference win of the season.
Mullins-Ohm collected four of FHSU’s 14 hits, finishing 4-for-4 with three runs and one RBI. Maneth picked up four RBI in the victory. Four other Tigers earned multiple hits in the contest.
Ruder (1-2) completed six innings before being removed, allowing four runs (four earned) on seven hits while striking out three. Steinbring tossed 3.0 innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits and striking out four batters.
Game Two: Emporia State 12, Fort Hays State 4
In the nightcap, the offenses reversed fortunes for both teams. ESU lit up the scoreboard with a 12-run, 13-hit affair. The Tigers were only able to plate four runs on eight hits. Fort Hays State put two runs on the board when Starkel was able to put a ball through the left side, plating both Erway and Maneth.
ESU took the lead for good in the fourth frame with a five-run inning. The Tigers clawed back with two more runs on an error and back-to-back wild pitches, scoring Francis and Erway. The Hornets opened up the flood gates in the sixth after scoring on a Tiger throwing error and a grand slam from Connor Hurst. ESU padded their lead with a couple more runs in the top of the ninth after a solo shot to left field and an RBI single.
Cody Rottinghaus started the game on the mound for FHSU, allowing four runs on three hits, walking five and striking out four across 3.1 innings of work. Cole Zimmerman (0-4) was charged with the loss after allowing six runs on six hits in 2.1 innings. Jake Taylor came on to finish off the game spanning the final 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and picking up two strikeouts.
Fort Hays State will come back home for their next series with Missouri Southern this weekend (March 15-17). First pitch from Larks Park on Friday is slated for 3 p.m.