ST. CHARLES, Mo. – Fort Hays State fell in both contests at Lindenwood University on Saturday. Defensive miscues plagued the Tigers throughout the doubleheader as Lindenwood won by scores of 4-2 and 1-0, moving to 14-10 overall and 5-7 in the MIAA. FHSU moved to 12-11 overall and 5-3 in the MIAA with the losses.
Game 1: Lindenwood 4, Fort Hays State 2
Poor defensive execution led to three Lindenwood runs in a 4-2 loss to open the afternoon. Lindenwood plated three runs in the first inning, but mental mistakes aided in the last two of three to score.
Lindenwood started its half of the first inning with a triple and double to score a run, but the Tigers helped the Lions out the remainder of the inning. With one out and a runner on third, pitcher Michaelanne Nelson came home with a throw that had the runner caught in a pickle. However, while Sara Breckbill chased the Lindenwood runner back toward third, she missed the runner on a diving tag, allowing the runner to retreat safely to third. During the next at bat, Breckbill threw down to second on a steal attempt and the ball went into center field allowing the runner from third to score. The Lions went on to plate another run on a single, opening the game with a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers struggled to get baserunners into scoring position throughout the first six innings of the game. A Lily Sale single in the third was the first hit of the game for FHSU against Lindenwood starter Marina Esparza, who did not face much resistance until the seventh inning. A Katie Adler home run to open the fourth inning produced the Tigers’ first run of the game, cutting the Lindenwood lead to 3-1.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Lions pushed their lead back to three on another poor defensive decision by the Tigers. With runners at first and third with two outs, Breckbill opted to throw down to second on a steal attempt. The throw was well late at second base and the runner from third cruised home to easily score a run on the double steal. The batter then flew out to end the inning.
Despite the defensive miscues, the Tigers still had a shot to tie or take the lead in the seventh. Bailey Boxberger led off the inning with a home run, cutting the Lindenwood lead down to 4-2 with a tape-measure blast over the elevated center field wall. With two outs, Grace Philop and Jeni Mohr came up with timely singles and then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Pinch hitter Allison Jurgensen drew a walk to load the bases, but Esparza ended her brief patch of wildness by striking out Sale on three pitches to end the game.
Nelson threw a complete game for the Tigers, allowing four runs on 10 hits and a walk. She struck out two Lions and moved to 4-6 overall on the season. Esparza also went the distance for Lindenwood, moving to 2-2 on the season.
Game 2: Lindenwood 1, Fort Hays State 0
Game two of the doubleheader boiled down to a pair of Tiger errors in the third inning as Hailey Chapman took a tough-luck loss in the pitching circle.
Lindenwood pitcher Stormee Galka was a thorn in the Tigers’ side as she accounted for two of the Lions’ three hits against Chapman. She scored the game’s only run, while also throwing a complete-game shutout with 11 strikeouts and three hits allowed. Galka had a bloop single in the third inning that Tiger left fielder Megan Feiner misplayed and she motored an extra two bases on the miscue. Chapman made the pitch she needed with two outs, inducing a ground ball to shortstop Lily Sale, but Sale’s throw to first was low and Bailey Boxberger could not dig it out. Galka crossed the plate and that’s all she needed as she dominated the Tiger lineup in the circle.
Katie Adler and Boxberger were the only Tigers to find hits off Galka. Adler went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Boxberger picked up her lone hit of the game to lead off the seventh. The Tigers had runners reach first and second with one out after Galka’s only walk allowed, but Galka got a weak pop up and a ground out to end the game.
Chapman matched Galka in the hits allowed column, while striking out three. The game’s lone run was unearned. Chapman threw her sixth complete game of the season and moved to 7-5 overall.
-Katie Adler and Bailey Boxberger were the only Tigers with more than one hit in the doubleheader, Adler finishing with three and Boxberger with two.
-Besides the pair of solo home runs in the first game, FHSU had only three baserunners reach scoring position all day over 14 innings played. All three of those were in the 7th inning when the Tigers were down to their last at bat.
-Fort Hays State has been shut out in six of its 11 losses this season. The Tigers are 0-4 this year in games decided by a score of 1-0.
Fort Hays State is back at home on Friday, March 29 when it plays host to Northeastern State in another MIAA doubleheader. First pitch is slated for 2 pm.