TOPEKA, Kan. – Fort Hays State bounced back from an 11-2 run-rule loss in game one, hanging on for a 6-4 win in game two to split an MIAA doubleheader with Washburn on Saturday. The Tigers moved to 17-18 overall, 10-10 in the MIAA, while the Ichabods are now 22-20 overall, 13-5 in the MIAA. It was a big win for the Tigers, now in a seventh-place tie in the MIAA standings with Lindenwood with two weeks to go in MIAA play.
Game 1: Washburn 11, Fort Hays State 2
For the third straight game on the weekend, Fort Hays State lost after holding an early lead. Fort Hays State took a 2-0 lead in the second inning only to see Washburn score three runs in the fourth and eight in the fifth to abruptly end the game by run rule. The Ichabods capped their 11 unanswered runs with a grand slam to end the game.
Fort Hays State’s only two hits in the game also produced its only two runs. Sara Breckbill and Allison Jurgensen both hit solo home runs to center field to give FHSU an early 2-0 lead. It was Breckbill’s second homer of the season and Jurgensen’s first.
A triple to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning started the Ichabod rally after Hailey Chapman held them scoreless for three innings. Washburn scored its first two runs of the inning with RBI singles, but benefitted from a Tiger fielding error to set up the third run knocked home in the inning. The Tigers found themselves down by one going to the fifth.
Washburn loaded the bases to open the fifth inning, which ultimately started another big rally. Chapman nearly escaped danger by getting the next two batters out without a run scoring, but the wheels came off when Ashley Ruder drove home two runs with a double. Maddie Stipsits followed that with a two-RBI single. All of the sudden, the Tigers trailed by five. Two more singles loaded the bases once more and then Savannah Moore instantly ended the game with a grand slam.
Chapman took the loss for FHSU, allowing all 11 runs (10 earned) on 13 hits with three walks. She struck out six. Raegen Hamm picked up the win for Washburn, allowing two runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Game 2: Fort Hays State 6, Washburn 4
Fort Hays State got out to a lead for the fourth straight game on the weekend, but this time found a way to hang on for its only win of the weekend road trip. Fort Hays State built a 6-0 lead after five and a half innings, but Washburn nearly completed another comeback at the end.
Back-to-back errors by the Washburn shortstop in the second inning turned into the first run of the game for the Tigers. Jeni Mohr reached base by the first error and moved to second on the play. Mohr came into score on another misplay by the shortstop off the bat of Lily Sale.
Elise Capra gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead in the fourth with her team-leading fifth home run of the season, a solo shot to lead off the inning. In the fifth, the Tigers plated two more with an RBI single by Bailey Boxberger and sacrifice fly RBI by Capra. The lead grew to 6-0 in the sixth when Allison Jurgensen delivered a clutch 2-RBI double down the left field line.
Michaelanne Nelson held Washburn scoreless over the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Washburn’s first run of three in the inning came on an RBI single with one out. A throwing error that went into the Tiger dugout allowed Washburn’s second run to score. Washburn drove in the third run on an infield grounder that produced the second out.
Nelson looked poised for a complete game in the seventh, getting the first two batters out. However, the Ichabods had one final push in them. A bloop single followed by a fielding error by the Tigers allowed the tying run to come to the plate in the form of Winter Henry. With two strikes, she laced a well-placed double down the left-field line. All of the sudden, the Ichabods had the game-tying runs in scoring position and a potential winning run at the plate in Taylor Kirk. Adrian Pilkington turned the ball over to Hailey Chapman, who came through in the clutch for the Tigers with a strikeout to end the game.
Nelson moved to 7-9 on the season with the win, while Chapman picked up her third save of the season. Nelson allowed four runs (one earned) on eight hits and two walks. She struck out three.
Bailey Zuniga took the loss for Washburn, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits with two strikeouts in 4.1 innings of work. Raegen Hamm pitched the final 2.2 innings for Washburn, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
-Allison Jurgensen led the Tigers with 3 RBIs for the day. Her 2-RBI hit in Game 2 was the decisive hit in the Tiger win.
-Michaelanne Nelson produced a 1.08 ERA in her two starts for the weekend. She allowed only one earned run in each contest. Five of the seven runs scored against her for the weekend were unearned.
-Fort Hays State and Lindenwood are tied for seventh in the MIAA, both at .500 in conference play. Pittsburg State, Nebraska-Kearney, and Missouri Southern are all just one game back.
Fort Hays State has a midweek non-conference doubleheader with Newman at home on Wednesday (Apr. 17) before heading back on the road for MIAA play next weekend at Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist.