Comeback efforts fall short for FHSU Softball on opening day

 

Fort Hays State Softball dropped two contests on opening day of the 2015 season, falling to Minnesota Duluth, 2-0, and No. 13 Missouri-St. Louis, 5-4, on Friday at the 8-State Classic.

Complete recaps of Friday’s games.

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Fort Hays State put itself in position for a comeback late but couldn’t follow through, falling 2-0 in its season opener to Minnesota Duluth.

FHSU matched the Bulldogs with five hits on the afternoon, as neither team had an extra base hit and both drew two walks. Kylie Strand was 2-of-2 at the plate with a walk, while Courtney Dobson was 1-of-2 with a walk. Rilee Krier and Samantha Villarreal had the Tigers’ other hits.

In the circle, Kelsey Kimminau (0-1) took the loss despite a strong effort, tossing all seven innings with six strikeouts. For UMD, Cayli Sadler (1-1) had nine strikeouts and also had a complete game.

UMD took an early 1-0 lead in the second when Hailey Lundquist blasted a two-out, solo home run. That lead was extended to 2-0 in the fifth, as the Bulldogs drove home a run on Becky Smith’s single to right field.

Down to its last chance in the seventh, Fort Hays State led off the inning with back-to-back singles from Strand and Villarreal, but a double play and a strikeout ended the game.

[/cbtab] [cbtab title=”No. 13 Missouri-St. Louis 5, Fort Hays State 4“] FHSU’s Erin Elmore led the team with a 2-for-3 performance, picking up two RBI with a double. Tori Beltz and Paxton Duran each had RBIs while going 1-of-3.

Duran (1-0) threw a complete game, striking out 10 and walking only three, though four of the eight hits were doubles. For UMSL, Hannah Perryman was tagged early (two earned runs) and threw just into the second, but Brittni Chapman (4-0) picked up the win after limiting the damage and allowing just two runs (both unearned) over the next six innings.

Duran started the game by striking out the side, and FHSU scored its first run of the season in the bottom of the inning. With two outs in the first, Erin Elmore raked a stand-up double to center, rounding the bases after Tori Beltz‘s RBI single.

That lead was short lived, as UMSL answered to tie the game in the second. Madison Zbaraschuk led off the inning with a double to center, moving to third on Hannah Wessels’ sacrifice bunt and coming home after Katie Wood singled to center. On that same play, Jennah Perryman was thrown out at the plate for the second out of the inning.

The Tigers took back the lead (2-1) in their half of the second as Strand scored her first run of the year. After leading off with a single, Strand moved to third on Samantha Villarreal‘s double and came home on a groundout from Duran.

From there, things settled down until the top of the fifth, when UMSL used a two-out rally to take a 3-2 advantage. Katie Rutledge started the flurry with a solo blast, then back-to-back hits from Alex Stupek (double) and Brianna Butler (single) brought Stupek home for the fifth combined run of the day.

Again it was the Tigers who answered to regain control in their half. Duran reached on an error to start the inning and Krier followed with a single, putting runners on first and second with no outs. Later on, with two down, Erin Elmore‘s single deflected off the pitcher, and though Duran reached home easily, heads-up baserunning from Krier allowed the Tigers’ left fielder to scamper home on a two-RBI play.

Within an out of clinching the win, FHSU was hurt by a walk and back-to-back doubles from UMSL that saw the Tritons take a 5-4 lead for good in the top of the seventh

Down to its last chance in the seventh, Duran led off with a stand-up double to right, moving to third on Rilee Krier‘s sacrifice bunt, but two quick outs for FHSU ended the comeback.

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