Baseball powers past Bronchos in finale

By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION

EDMOND, Okla. – The Fort Hays State baseball team scored a season-high 12 runs in a 12-9 win over Central Oklahoma Sunday afternoon (March 7). The Tigers moved to 2-8 overall and 2-4 in MIAA action, while the Bronchos are now 3-3 on the season and 2-1 in league play.

After both sides went down in order in the first, Fort Hays State struck first in the second inning thanks to Corbin Truslow’s leadoff triple. The first baseman sent a towering fly ball to right on a 3-2 pitch. The Broncho fielder had trouble finding the ball in the sun and wind, allowing Truslow to advance all the way to third. The redshirt-junior came around to score two batters later on an RBI groundout from Ed Scott.

Central Oklahoma seemed to take control with three runs on two hits, one walk and one hit-by-pitch in the home half of the second, but the Tigers quickly responded with a three-spot of their own in the top of the third. Conner Kessler and Jacob Bouzide rattled off consecutive singles before both runners moved up one base on a double steal. Drake Angeron then made it a one-run game with a perfectly-placed infield single deep in the hole at short, scoring Kessler. Fort Hays State took a 4-3 lead three batters later when Grant Stephens doubled into the gap in right center, bringing Bouzide and Angeron around to score.

Tiger starter Jake Campbell (2-0) settled in to post zeros over the next three innings, facing the minimum in the third and fifth innings while escaping unscathed with a man on third and no one out in the fourth.

Fort Hays State took complete control in the top of the fifth with a pair of home runs. Kade Wallace crushed his second home run of the weekend when he sent the first pitch he saw sailing over the fence in right. Truslow and Stephens followed with back-to-back singles before Jason Robertson came up with two outs. The redshirt-freshman came through with a huge hit in his first start of the season when he unloaded on an 0-1 pitch, depositing it over the fence in left for a three-run home run. Fort Hays State could have done more damage after three consecutive walks loaded the bases, but the Broncho bullpen got out of the jam with a strikeout.

The Tigers added two more runs in the top half of the sixth, stretching their lead to 10-3. UCO again loaded the bases on back-to-back walks, this time with no outs. Scott followed with an RBI single to right, plating Wallace. Fort Hays State scored its 10th run on another walk, this time to Kessler who earned the RBI after Truslow trotted home.

Central Oklahoma pushed across a fourth run in the bottom of the sixth before Fort Hays State tacked on two more in the seventh. A pair of two-out walks set the stage for Scott. The centerfielder came through with a base knock to left that was mishandled by the Broncho fielder, allowing two unearned runs to scamper home.

Leading 12-4, Fort Hays State went to the bullpen in Jacob Ensz. The redshirt-junior worked around a single in the seventh before allowing an unearned run in the eighth. Central Oklahoma mounted a two-out rally in the ninth, scoring four runs before Ensz secured his second save with his fifth strikeout of the day.

Campbell earned the win after allowing four runs on six hits and one walk over 6.0 innings of work. The redshirt-freshman struck out four Bronchos on the day, improving his strikeout/walk ratio to 20/7 on the year.

Eight of the nine Tiger starters collected at least one base hit, with Angeron, Truslow, Stephens, Scott and Kessler all with two hits each. Robertson drove in a game-high three RBI, with Stephens and Scott both driving in a pair of runs. Truslow scored four runs, tied for the most in a game by a Tiger this season.

Fort Hays State drew 10 walks in the win, the most by a Tiger team in over two years (10 vs SBU, 3/1/19).

The Tigers are on the road again next weekend (March 13-14) when they face off with No. 20 Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo. FHSU and UCM will battle in a doubleheader on Saturday followed by a single game finale on Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. on both days.

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