Tigers sweep Mules in MIAA opening doubleheader

Fort Hays State University had a great start to conference play on Thursday by sweeping a doubleheader with Central Missouri in Hays at Larks Park. The Tigers cruised to a 9-1 win in game one, but had to hold on in a 9-8 game two thriller. FHSU moved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, while UCM dropped to 4-5 overall and 0-2 in the MIAA.

FHSU played as the visiting team in both games and will do the same on Friday in the final two games of the series. The series was originally scheduled to take place in Warrensburg, Mo., but the field is unplayable due to snow.

Game 1: Fort Hays State 9, Central Missouri 1

Tyler Patty turned in a dominant pitching performance for the Tigers in the seven-inning contest, throwing a complete game in his first start of the season. Patty retired the first six batters of the game to take command early and held the Mules scoreless for four innings. A groundout RBI in the fifth was the only run he yielded to the Mules before retiring the final six batters of the game. Patty allowed just five hits, struck out four, and did not allow a walk.

Caleb Cherryholmes had a great afternoon at the plate, getting his afternoon kicked off with a three-RBI effort in game one. In the second, he got the Tigers on the board by driving a run home on a fielder’s choice. He triggered a four-run fourth for the Tigers with a RBI single, then had another RBI single in the fifth.

FHSU scored two in the second, triggered by Cherryholmes’ RBI. Gus Strunk also plated a run with a safety squeeze bunt.

After Cherryholmes’ RBI in the fourth made it 3-0, Nick Hammeke pushed the lead to 5-0 with a two-RBI double to the left-center gap. Connor Ross capped the fourth inning with a RBI single to make it 6-0. Cherryholmes pushed the lead to 7-0 with his single in the fifth, then he drew a throwing error from the pitcher in a pickoff attempt at first base, which allowed Andre Vieyra to score from third, making it 8-0.

After UCM broke up the shutout in the bottom of the fifth, Alex King came around from second on a pair of passed balls.

Tyler House took the loss for UCM, allowing six runs over 3.2 innings of work. He moved to 1-2 on the season.

Game 2: Fort Hays State 9, Central Missouri 8

Fort Hays State Univeristy held on for a thrilling 9-8 win in the nightcap of the doubleheader. FHSU scored three in the top of the ninth and UCM countered with two in the ninth, but Tiger closer Austin Unrein shut the door for his first save of the season.

UCM had the tying run at third and the winning run at second in the ninth after already plating two runs in the inning. On a 3-2 count and first base open, Austin Unrein froze Dylan Farrell with a sharp breaking ball for a strikeout to end the game.

Cherryholmes was the hitting hero in the second game as well. After FHSU took a 7-6 lead in the top of the ninth on a bases-loaded wild pitch with two outs, Cherryholmes pushed a single through the right side to plate runners from second and third making it 9-6. That was the decisive hit in the game.

FHSU had a 6-1 lead after four and a half innings, plating one in the first, three in the fourth, and two in the fifth. But UCM chipped away, getting a run in the fifth and then four in the sixth to get the game tied. The teams went scoreless in the seventh and eighth before the exciting ninth inning.

Cooper Langley had a three RBI game. His RBI groundout in the first put FHSU on the board, then his two-run home run to right center in the fifth through the teeth of a steady breeze pushed the lead to five. Gus Strunk drove home two on a single in the fourth. Langley scored the other run in the fourth on a wild pitch.

Kyle Vogt picked up the win for FHSU in relief, throwing 2.2 innings. He kept the game tied in the sixth, getting the final UCM out, and went on to pitch 2.2 innings. He got one out in the ninth before turning the ball over to Unrein. Vogt allowed two runs, but just one earned, on three hits and struck out one.

Steven Federau had a solid start for the Tigers, holding the Mules to just two runs over the first five innings. He ran into trouble after one out in the sixth. He finished with four runs (three earned) and five hits allowed with two strikeouts. Giles Fox bridged the gap to Vogt, allowing two runs in 0.1 innings of work.

Lucas Williams took the loss in 2.2 innings of relief for UCM. He picked up the final two outs of the seventh before pitching the entire eighth and ninth innings.

The teams return to action on Friday at Larks Park in another doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.


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