Tigers Fall Twice on First Day of Kelly Laas Memorial Tournament

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – Fort Hays State softball dropped a pair of games to open the Kelly Laas Memorial Tournament in St. Cloud, Minn., on Thursday (Feb. 18). The Tigers dropped the first game of the day in eight innings to Southwest Minnesota State 2-1, and then fell 11-8 to Concordia-St. Paul in the nightcap. FHSU now sits at 1-5 overall.

Southwest Minnesota State 2, Fort Hays State 1 (8 inn.)

The Tigers got off to a great start in the first game of the day as leadoff hitter Claudia Vazquez roped a triple and scored on a Samantha Villarreal single two batters later. Unfortunately, that was all the scoring the Tigers would get in the game despite several chances for more.

The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Tigers until the fourth inning. A base hit by Janae Annetts was just out of the reach of the Tiger third baseman Kylie Strand and it scored a runner from second to tie the game.

The next three innings landed a few runners on base for each team, but neither found a way to score until the eighth inning. With two outs in the inning, FHSU committed a costly error by dropping a fly ball allowing a run to score from first.

The Tigers got a leadoff walk from Tori Beltz but the following batter, Samantha Villarreal, grounded into a double play. Kiley Strand then ripped a double, and Courtney Dobson followed here with an infield single and the Tigers had a chance to tie or win with runners on the corners. Unfortunately, Duran grounded out to third to end the game, also taking the tough-luck loss in the circle by allowing only one earned run in the game. She struck out eight.

Concordia-St. Paul 11, Fort Hays State 8

The second game started off shaky as FHSU gave up five runs in the first inning. Starting Pitcher Carrie Clark was chased from the game after recording just two outs. Paxton Duran came in and went the rest of the way in relief.

The Tigers responded quickly in the following inning when they were able to push four runs across the plate. Villarreal singled, Strand walked, Yago reached on a fielder’s choice and Dobson singled in Strand from second for the first run of the game. The next batter Rilee Krier singled in another run and tried to advance into scoring position but was caught stealing. Duran then helped her own cause as she sent a two-run homer over the fence and the Tigers trailed just 5-4 going to the bottom of the second.

The Tigers made it a new game in the top of the third, when Tori Beltz got her first homerun of the season and the two teams headed to the bottom half tied 5-5. The tie wouldn’t last long though as the Golden Bears were able to plate two their next at bat.

The Tigers tied it up once again 7-7 in the fifth after Beltz walked and scored on a Strand double. Villarreal also walked and scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Dobson.

The Golden Bears responded once again with two runs in the fifth and sixth each, taking an 11-7 lead to the final inning.

The last chance for the Tigers fell short as Tori Beltz led off with her second homerun of the game but the next three batters went down in order.

The Tigers play one game on Friday (Feb. 19) at noon as they take on No. 20 ranked Augustana (S.D.).

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