HAYS, Kan. – The Fort Hays State baseball wrapped up their 2019 campaign on Sunday (May 5), falling to Pittsburg State by a final of 10-6. The Tigers ended their season with an overall record of 3-40 and a 2-31 clip in MIAA play, while the Gorillas finished their regular season 28-19 overall and 20-13 in conference action.
The Tigers mustered up their best offensive performance of the series in the finale as they picked up six runs on eight hits in the contest. Three Tigers produced multi-hit bids on the afternoon with Ryan Grasser, Cody Starkel and Jordan Wilkerson earned two base knocks. Grasser led the way with two runs scored and Olson, Starkel and Wilkerson drove in one run each.
Tiger starter Cody Rottinghaus escaped a little bit of a jam in the opening frame after allowing a free pass, a single and a stolen base before inducing a fly out to end the Gorilla momentum. In the home half, Grasser doubled down the right field line and Starkel single up the middle to give the Tigers the edge. Grasser then stole home after Starkel distracted the Gorillas in the base path to give the Tigers their first lead of the series.
Pittsburg State knotted things up in the second after Quin Reasoner produced an RBI single. FHSU got the run back in the third frame after Garrett Francis scored on a throwing error by the Gorillas overthrowing the first baseman. FHSU then increased their lead to 3-1 in the fifth after Starkel ripped an RBI single up the middle, scoring Grasser from second.
PSU tied the game up once again in the top of the sixth with two runs, before the Tigers switched scripts again with two runs of their own in the home half. After a couple errors by the Gorillas, Jared Maneth came around to score. The very next plate appearance, Olson reached first on a fielder’s choice and Kyler Cox crossed home plate.
Rottinghaus tossed a solid six innings for the Tigers before the Gorillas took advantage of seeing him for the third time through the lineup. PSU plated six runs in the seventh inning to blow the game open. The Tigers were able to get one of the runs back in the home half as Wilkerson single to right center, plating Starkel from second. The Gorillas then tacked on another run in the ninth.
Rottinghaus (1-4) was charged with the loss in the contest after tossing 6.2 innings, allowing eight runs (four earned) on six hits. The Seneca, Kan. native allowed five free passes to first, while picking up four strikeouts. Ryan Brown came on in relief the rest of the way (2.1 IP), surrendering two runs (one earned) on three hits and fanning two Gorilla hitters.