Hillcats best Tigers in Saturday doubleheader

By FHSU SPORTS INFORMATION

The Fort Hays State baseball team dropped both ends of its doubleheader against Rogers State Saturday afternoon (March 20) at Larks Park, 16-2 and 9-4. The teams were neck-and-neck early on in both contests before the Hillcats pulled away late.

The Tigers will be back in action at home next weekend (March 26-27) when the Tigers host No. 3 Missouri Southern. The Tigers and Lions will battle in a single game on Friday beginning at 5 p.m. before facing off in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.

Game 1 – Rogers State 16, Fort Hays State 2 (8 innings)
The Tigers and Hillcats were locked in a tight dual for much of the first game of the afternoon before RSU scored 13 runs in the final two innings to pull away.

Fort Hays State struck first after Kade Wallace was hit by a pitch in the first Tiger at bat of the day. He moved into scoring position on a walk to Jacob Bouzide before coming around to score on a sharp double into left center from Corbin Truslow.

Rogers State tied things up in the top of the second before tacking on a pair of runs in the third. The Tigers clawed within one with a single run in the fifth after Griffin Brunson beat out an infield single to lead off the inning. Brunson advanced on a sacrifice bunt before sprinting home on a single to right from Bouzide. But the Hillcats pulled away late, scoring eight runs in the seventh and five runs in the fifth to seal the win.

Ryan Ruder (0-2) took the loss after allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out four over 6.0 innings of work. The Tiger bullpen allowed the next 13 runs over the final two innings, including four unearned runs. Griffin Brunson was the lone Tiger with multiple base hits in the opener, going 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Game 2 – Rogers State 9, Fort Hays State 4
Fort Hays State led by one after three innings in the nightcap, 4-3, but the Hillcats scored six unanswered runs over the final five frames to take the victory.

Rogers State put together a run in the first before the Tigers knotted things at 1-1 in the home half. Kade Wallace worked a leadoff walk before Drake Angeron pulled a perfect bunt to the right side just in front of the second baseman, allowing the speedy lefty to beat the throw to first. Corbin Truslow came through with another first-inning RBI when he yanked a single into left, scoring Wallace from second. Jaxson Webb followed with a walk to load the bases with just one out, but the Hillcat starter escaped without any further damage.

The Hillcats went back in front with two more runs on four base hits in the second inning before the Tigers took the lead in the bottom of the third. Grant Schmidt got the scoring run going with a double down the third-base line before Truslow singled through the left side. Webb followed with a base knock to right center, driving in Schmidt. Truslow came in to score and tie things at 3-3 on a sacrifice fly from Griffin Brunson before Tyler Olson gave the Tigers the lead with a double down the first-base line.

The Tigers retired the side in order in the fourth before RSU regained the lead with three runs in the fifth. The Hillcats later added single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The Tigers had chances to cut into the lead in the late innings, including leadoff doubles in the fifth and seventh innings, but the RSU pitching staff managed to work out of the jam both times.

Jayce Meyer (0-2) took the loss after giving up five runs on nine hits while striking out three over 4.1 innings of work. Hunter Parker gave up three runs (one earned) and struck out two over 2.2 innings of relief while Jake Steinbring tossed the final 2.0 innings, giving up one run on one hit and striking out four.

Truslow was 2-for-4 with an RBI and one run scored in game 2, while Schmidt finished 2-for-5 with a run scored.

FRIDAY

The Fort Hays State baseball team dropped a narrow 7-6 decision against Rogers State Friday evening (March 19). Down two with two outs in the ninth, the Tigers scored one run on a Drake Angeron single, but the tying run was gunned down at the plate by Hillcat left fielder Prescott Horn to end the game. The Tigers are now 2-12 on the year and 2-8 in MIAA play, while the Hillcats move to 8-6 overall and 5-5 in conference action.

The Tigers led for much of the contest, scoring the first two runs of the game in the bottom of the first after starting pitcher Jake Campbell escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the first. Kade Wallace led off with a single before advancing to third on a double into the left-field corner from Grant Schmidt. Corbin Truslow followed with a double that dropped between a retreating second baseman and the oncoming right fielder, driving in Wallace before Schmidt sprinted home on a sacrifice fly from Ed Scott.

Rogers State chipped into the lead with a single run following a two-out rally in the second, but the Tigers quickly responded with another run in the home half of the second. Angeron led off with a single before the speedy righty moved up to third following a pair of Hillcat mistakes, including an errant pick-off attempt and a wild pitch. Angeron came in to score on a sacrifice fly from Conner Kessler, pushing the Tigers back up by two, 3-1.

After both teams went down quietly in the third, the Hillcats tied things up at 3-3 in the fourth thanks in part to three infield singles. Fort Hays State jumped back in front in the bottom of the fourth after Schmidt and Truslow worked back-to-back walks. After advancing to third on a fielder’s choice, Schmidt scampered home on a sharp liner back up the middle from Jacob Bouzide. The Tigers doubled their lead on an error off the bat of Tyler Olson, allowing Scott to score from third.

The Hillcats took their first lead of the game off the Tiger bullpen, scoring four runs on three hits and one error in the top of the sixth to take a 7-5 lead. The Tigers had chances to draw closer in the following innings, leaving four on base across the sixth, seventh and eighth frames. Jacob Ensz silenced the Hillcat bats down the stretch, allowing just one baserunner after the sixth inning.

Fort Hays State didn’t go away quietly, putting together a rally in the ninth to nearly tie things up. Truslow and Scott both worked walks to lead off the inning before Bouzide bunted the pair up 90 feet. Down to the final out, Angeron dug in and swung at a 1-1 pitch, sending it rolling into left field. Pinch runner Jaxson Webb easily scored from third with Scott following close behind from second. The Hillcat right fielder cleanly gathered the ball and fired a rope home that one-hopped to the catcher. The RSU backstop corralled the ball up around his facemask and applied the tag just before Scott touched home plate, ending the game and securing a Hillcat win.

Campbell did not factor into the decision after allowing three runs on 11 hits and two walks over 5.0 innings of work. The redshirt-freshman struck out five batters. Brayden Smith (0-1) took the loss after giving up three runs (two earned) on two hits and one walk over 0.1 innings of relief. Ensz tossed the final 3.2 innings, giving up one unearned run on two hits and zero walks while striking out three.

Schmidt, Bouzide and Angeron collected two hits each, helping the Tigers to 10 hits on the day. Schmidt was the lone Tiger to cross the plate multiple times, scoring two runs.

Hillcat leadoff hitter Christian Merriweather finished 4-for-5 with two runs and one RBI, while starter Jackson Simonsgaard (2-2) collected the win after allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits and striking out five over 5.0 innings of work.

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