HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State did exactly what it needed to do on Saturday, but did not get the help it needed from action elsewhere in the conference as it came up just shy of grabbing a spot in the MIAA Tournament. The Tigers won their final two conference games of the season over Nebraska-Kearney, both in run-rule fashion, by scores of 9-1 and 8-0 at Tiger Stadium. Fort Hays State moved to 24-23 overall, 13-13 in the MIAA with the wins, while UNK dropped to 18-24 overall, 12-14 in the MIAA.
Adrian Pilkington Postgame Interview
Head coach Adrian Pilkington picked up her 100th career coaching win with the Tigers game one victory.
Game 1: Fort Hays State 9, Nebraska-Kearney 1
Fort Hays State shook off its offensive struggles from earlier in the week in a big way on Saturday with a season-high 18 hits in a 9-1 win over Nebraska-Kearney. Katie Adler set the tone for the Tigers with a 4-for-4 effort at the plate, while Sara Breckbill went 3-for-4. Terran Caldwell, Bailey Boxberger, Elise Capra, and Jeni Mohr all collected two hits. All nine Tigers in the starting lineup collected hits.
Game 1 Highlights
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one inning. Breckbill got the scoring started with an RBI double and Grace Philop followed with an RBI single.
The Lopers benefitted from a pair of Tiger errors in the second inning for their only run of the day, cutting the lead to three. However, it was all Tigers from that point.
After leading off the first with a single to start a rally for the Tigers, Adler started another in the second with a two-out single. Caldwell drove home Adler from first with a double and then Allison Jurgensen added to the Tiger lead with an RBI single. FHSU led 4-1 after two innings.
Capra added to the Tiger lead in the fifth with a solo home run down the right field line. The Tigers poured on four more runs in the sixth to end the game by run rule. Boxberger had a two-RBI double to push the lead to 7-1, then Capra provided another RBI double to make it 8-1. Sale finished the game with an RBI single.
Michaelanne Nelson had a great performance in the circle for the Tigers, allowing three hits and three walks in a six-inning complete-game effort. She struck out four Lopers, moving to 10-11 on the season.
Erin Hallman took the loss for UNK, throwing the first 1.2 innings. She allowed four runs on eight hits and struck out two. Reliever Mo Vornhagen threw 3.2 innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits. Megan Blake allowed the final run and allowed three hits, but did not record an out.
With the win, fifth-year head coach Adrian Pilkington reached the 100th win of her coaching career at FHSU.
Game 2: Fort Hays State 8, Nebraska-Kearney 0
Fort Hays State needed just two big innings to complete the doubleheader sweep it knew it needed going into the day. The Tigers scored three runs in the second and five in the sixth to reach the run rule once more. The Tigers reached 30 hits for the day with a 12-hit performance in game two.
Game 2 Highlights
Katie Adler reached 5-for-5 on the day in her second plate appearance in game two, driving in the first run with an RBI single. An error helped extend the inning and the Tigers scored a pair of runs on a two-RBI double by Allison Jurgensen.
The Tigers erupted again in the sixth with five runs to end the game. Jeni Mohr started the rally with a single and Lily Sale followed with an RBI triple. She came in to score on the play when the Lopers made a throwing error at third attempting to throw her out. Katie Adler walked and then came in to score on another error committed by the Lopers on the back end of a Terran Caldwell double. Jurgensen pushed the Tiger lead to 7-0 with an RBI single and then Elise Capra put the finishing touches on the rally with a sacrifice fly RBI.
Caldwell went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Jurgensen and Sale each had two hits in the contest.
Amid the offensive fireworks, Hailey Chapman had another solid pitching performance in the circle for FHSU moving to 12-12 on the year with a six-inning complete-game shutout. It was her second individual shutout of the season. She held the Lopers to just five hits and struck out eight.
MIAA Tournament Hopes Dashed
Though the Tigers swept the doubleheader, their MIAA Tournament hopes were dashed shortly following their game one win. Northeastern State rallied to sweep Missouri Southern and Pittsburg State picked up a victory over No. 1 nationally ranked and MIAA regular season champion Central Oklahoma to keep the Tigers out of the tournament field. The Tigers finished one game out of a four-way tie for fifth at 14-12. Those four teams (Emporia State, Lindenwood, Northeastern State, and Pittsburg State) grabbed the final four spots in the MIAA Tournament, with three having to clinch their spot on Saturday.
-Fort Hays State pounded out 30 hits and outscored UNK 17-1 on the day.
-The 18 hits in game one was a season high.
-Katie Adler went 5-for-6 at the plate for FHSU in the doubleheader, while Terran Caldwell matched her in hits for the day by going 5-for-8 at the plate.
-Allison Jurgensen led the Tigers in RBIs for the day with four.
-Fort Hays State hit .484 in the doubleheader, while holding UNK to a .174 average.
-Hailey Chapman has a 1.52 ERA in her last four starts.
Fort Hays State closes out the season at Nebraska-Kearney on Sunday with a pair of non-conference games. At 24-23 overall, the Tigers have a chance at securing their first winning season since 2014 if they can pick up one more win.