Baseball takes series from Griffons

By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION

The Fort Hays State baseball team finished its series against Missouri Western with an 11-4 victory Saturday afternoon (March 30) at Larks Park. The Tigers (20-14, 8-12 MIAA) recorded eight extra-base hits, including two homers.

The Griffons (15-17, 7-13 MIAA) scored three in the first inning on four hits, but Fort Hays State was quick to answer in the bottom half of the inning with an Elliott Herrmann homer to right field that scored two. The bottom of the second started with Jose Cintronreaching third after being hit by a pitch and advancing on a couple wild pitches. Luis Ayala scored Cintron with a double to right center. Then Trey DeGarmonotched an RBI to put the Tigers into the lead on a single to center field. Cesar Saavedra also notched an RBI on a fielder’s choice to the right side of the infield. FHSU led 5-3 through two innings.

Tiger starter Rafael Espinoza found his stride after the first inning. Jared Munk from Missouri Western hit a solo homer in the top half of the fourth to make the score 5-4 Tigers. The Munk home run was the last run scored for the Griffons as Espinoza went on to pitch a gem, giving up just four runs on six hits in a complete game effort.

The sixth inning saw more Tiger scoring, with DeGarmo doubling to lead off the inning. After Saavedra moved DeGarmo over to third, Brady Kreutzer took a ball for a ride to deep center field for his 10th homer of the season to add two more, making the score 7-4 Tigers. After an Isaiah Ural walk, Herrmann hit a line drive double that hit the right-center fence, scoring Ural to make it 8-4.

Espinoza retired 10 batters in order from the last out of the fourth to retiring the side in the fifth through seventh. A Griffon single to leadoff the eighth broke up the string, but Espinoza went on to retire six more in a row to cap his complete game.

Fort Hays State added three insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Tigers led off the inning with back-to-back doubles by Ural and Herrmann to generate the first run. Ayala singled home Herrmann and a Griffon error on the play allowed another run to score.

Espinoza (3-1) struck out five with just one walk, while needing just over 100 pitches to throw a complete game. It was his first complete game at FHSU.

The Tigers finished the game with 12 hits, including two each from Kreutzer and Ayala, and three each from Herrmann and DeGarmo. Herrmann drove in four runs, while Kreutzer and Ayala each drove in two. Cesar Saavedra and DeGarmo each notched an RBI and three Tigers crossed the plate twice.

The Tigers will resume play next week in a three-game conference series with Northwest Missouri State at Larks Park in Hays. It will be Pack the Park on Friday (April 5) at 5 p.m.

Friday

The Fort Hays State baseball team dropped game two of its series against Missouri Western Friday evening (March 29) by a score of 8-5. The Tigers (19-13, 7-12 MIAA) took a 4-0 lead in the first two innings before the Griffons (15-16, 7-12 MIAA) clawed back to even the weekend series at one game each.

Tiger starter Cade Flaherty allowed a leadoff single before retiring the next six batters he faced, setting the stage for the offense. Cesar Saavedra led off the bottom of the first with an infield single before Brady Kreutzer worked a walk. The pair later came around to score on a two-out double to left off the bat of Jose Cintron.

Kreutzer doubled the lead in the home half of the second with a two-out, two-run home run to straightaway center.

The Griffons pushed across two runs of their own in the third, but Flaherty was able to get out of a bases-loaded jam with an inning-ending double play. Missouri Western then took the lead in the fourth with three unearned runs before Sebastian Burgos tied the score at five with his second home run of the season, a line-drive shot over the fence in left field.

Spencer Maley worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning with a called third strike before allowing an unearned run in the top of the sixth. The Griffons tacked on insurance runs in the eighth and ninth innings, stretching the lead to 8-5. Fort Hays State had runners on base in all but one of the final five innings, including a runner at third base twice, but were unable to push across another run.

Flaherty worked 3.2 innings as the starter, allowing five runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out two batters. Maley (1-1) took the loss after allowing one unearned run on three hits and two walks alongside one strikeout in 2.1 innings of work. Brandon Chavez worked the final three innings, allowing two runs on three hits and one walk while adding one strikeout.

Saavedra and Kreutzer each had two of FHSU’s eight hits on the day. Kreutzer and Cintron each drove in two runs, with Kreutzer scoring twice as well.

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