Softball sweeps Missouri Southern in home opener

Fort Hays State opened its home portion of the 2015 schedule with a sweep of its conference doubleheader against Missouri Southern. FHSU (9-8, 4-2 MIAA) defeated the Lions 7-6 in the first game and won a 3-2 game in eight innings for the finale.

The Tigers continue the home stand tomorrow with a doubleheader with Pittsburg State, beginning at 1 p.m.

Complete recaps of Friday’s games are below.

Fort Hays State 7, Missouri Southern 6
Fort Hays State used two runs in the sixth to cap a 7-6 comeback win over Missouri Southern in the first game of the day.

Paxton Duran (4-4) picked up the win, tossing six innings with five runs allowed (two earned) while striking out six. Sarah Cochran threw the seventh inning for the save, giving up one run with one hit.

At the plate, Courtney Dobson led the team with a 3-for-3 effort, picking up a double. Amanda Vaupel was 2-for-4 on the day while Kylie Strand and Samantha Villarreal each went 1-for-3 with two RBI as part of the Tigers’ nine-hit effort.

FHSU struck first with a three-spot in the third inning, using two hits and two MSSU errors in the inning. Courtney Dobson led off the inning with a single to left before taking second on Strand’s walk. From there, both runners came around to score when Erin Elmore reached second on a fielding error. After Elmore moved to third on Tori Beltz‘s ground out, Samantha Villarreal brought the catcher home with a single to centerfield.

MSSU answered back with four runs in the fourth thanks to five hits, including a RBI doubles from Michala Wood and Myranda Stewart. After finding themselves down 4-3, the Tigers rebounded with another two runs in their half of the fourth to regain the lead, 5-4. Rilee Krier led off the inning with a bunt single before stealing second and moving to third on Dobson’s single to left. Krier came home in the next at-bat as Strand grounded out to short.

The Lions tied the game in the fifth before a final rally put FHSU ahead for good in the sixth. Dobson again contributed to the runs, starting the inning with a leadoff double, taking third on a wild pitch during Strand’s at-bat. Strand brought Dobson home with a double of her own, and later scored when Samantha Villarreal hit a sacrifice fly to center.

A Missouri Southern run in the seventh kept things interesting for the Tigers, but Cochran was able to buckle down and get three outs to earn the save.

Fort Hays State 3, Missouri Southern 2 (Eight innings)
Shutout for the first 6.2 innings, the Tigers rallied late to force extras before a walk-off single from Erin Elmore gave FHSU the sweep with a 3-2 win in eight innings.

Kelsey Kimminau (4-4) threw a complete game, allowing two runs (one earned) while scattering four hits.

Veronica Knittig and Dobson each had doubles for the Tigers while Elmore and Mackenzie Villarreal drove in runs.

Missouri Southern scored one run in the second off a throwing error by the Tigers and later extended its lead to 2-0 in the sixth with a RBI single from Brooke Swadley.

FHSU was limited to just one hit through the first six innings and was down to its final out before rallying with two runs in the seventh. Samantha Villarreal and Vaupel drew back-to-back walks, and Makenzie Villarreal followed with a single to left that scored pinch-runner Gabrielle Sandoval and pushed Vaupel to third. From there, Knittig reached on a fielding error that allowed Vaupel to scamper home and tie the game.

In the eight, Dobson started the inning with a double to right center. After an out, Elmore took a 1-0 pitch into center field to score Dobson and clinch the win.

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