By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION
PITTSBURG, Kan. – The Fort Hays State baseball team opened the conference season with a 7-4 road win over Pittsburg State on Friday (Feb. 28). It was the first time the Tigers have won their conference opener since 2016 against Central Missouri.
The Tigers (11-6, 1-0 MIAA) tallied 12 hits on the day, stringing together two big innings by scoring four in the fourth and three in the sixth. Pittsburg State (8-7, 0-1 MIAA) jumped in front with two runs in the first inning before Zach Berg and Jacob Ensz limited the Gorillas to just two more runs over the next eight frames.
Fort Hays State had plenty of chances to score early on, picking up multiple baserunners in each of the first four innings. The Tigers finally capitalized in the fourth when Jaxson Webb lifted his first collegiate home run sailing over the fence in right center, plating Tyler Olson to tie the score at 2-2. Later in the inning, Grant Schmidt singled and Drake Angeron drew a walk to set the table for Corbin Truslow. The first baseman gave the Tigers the lead with a two-RBI single to right.
After allowing three hits in the two-run first, Berg (3-0) bounced back to scatter just two hits over the next four frames. He retired the side in order twice, racking up five strikeouts over 6.2 innings of work and picking up the win.
The Tigers pushed across three more runs in the sixth with a clutch two-out rally. After a pitch hit Schmidt, PSU reliever Nick Brown struck out a pair of Tigers before walking Truslow. Jared Maneth followed with a double into the gap in left center, driving in Schmidt. Griffin Brunson kept things rolling with a base knock back up the middle, driving in a pair to push the Tiger lead to 7-2.
Ensz (2) came out of the pen to get the Tigers out of a jam in the seventh, striking out a Gorilla to leave the bases loaded. The lefty picked up his second save of the season after tossing the final 2.1 innings, surrendering two hits and one run while striking out three Gorillas.
Eight different Tigers recorded hits on the day, with Truslow, Maneth, Olson and Webb all picking up two hits.
The Tigers and Gorillas will continue the series on Saturday (Feb. 29) with another single game beginning at 1 p.m.