Tiger Baseball falls in season opener to Orediggers

Fort Hays State University baseball fell by a score of 5-3 to Colorado Mines in the season opener on Friday at Larks Park in Hays. Colorado Mines took a 3-0 lead with back-to-back first inning home runs and held the lead the rest of the way.

The Orediggers (4-0) remained unbeaten on the season by taking advantage of a leadoff walk in the first inning. Connor Lambert followed with a line drive over the right center field wall to make it 2-0, then Nate Olinger hit a solo homer down the right field line to abruptly put the score at 3-0 without any outs recorded.

Starter Justin Hersch settled in from there for the Tigers, recording six consecutive outs before surrendering a walk at the beginning of the third inning. He worked around the free pass to record three more in a row. He also kept the Orediggers scoreless in the fourth, despite two reaching base in the inning.

Meanwhile, the Tigers pulled within a run by the end of the fourth inning. In the first inning Cooper Langley had a two-out RBI single to plate Kevin Czarnecki, who doubled the play before. In the fourth, Nick Hammeke had a two-out RBI single to plate Austin Unrein, who singled earlier in the inning. The Tigers stranded runners at second and third to end the inning, trailing 3-2.

The Tigers had an unfortunate turn of events in the fifth when Hersch could not continue the game with an injury to his leg, not allowing him to get a good push off the mound. Kyle Vogt entered in relief and got the first two batters he faced out before surrendering a solo home run to Connor Lambert, his second of the game to push the CSM lead back to two at 4-2.

Giles Fox had a solid effort out of the bullpen for the Tigers in relief of Vogt, who allowed just the one run over 1.2 innings. Fox threw 2.2 innings and allowed just one hit and struck out five. However, one of the strikeouts was costly in the eighth inning as it came on a wild pitch and catcher Andre Vieyra‘s recovery throw down to first was high, allowing a runner to come into score from second. Colorado Mines took a 5-2 lead to the ninth inning.

In the ninth, Vieyra led off with a walk and moved up to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Caleb Cherryholmes doubled in Vieyra from third, making it 5-3, but the rally came up short as Connor Ross struck out to end the game.

Hersch took the loss, lasting 4.0 innings. He allowed three runs on three hits with three walks.

Christian Rooney had a great outing on the mound in his start Colorado Mines. He lasted 7.0 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits, while striking out eight. Samuel Reed pitched the final two innings of the game for his first save of the season, allowing just one run and one hit with a strikeout.

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