Tigers suffer loss, play again Saturday evening
By CONOR NICHOLL
On May 4, Fort Hays State University senior ace Maddie Holub worked a no-hitter against University of Central Oklahoma in the MIAA postseason tournament, the only time FHSU played the Bronchos this year.
On Saturday, Central Oklahoma freshman second baseman Ally Dziadula led off the bottom of the first inning. On an 0-1 pitch, she swung at an inside pitch from Holub that came in about eye level. The ball landed down the right field line and Dziadula ended up with a triple.
"It was a little high," Dziadula said with a smile and laugh. "But it got the job done."
Dziadula's hit opened a nine-run first inning for Central Oklahoma. Fort Hays eventually lost 11-3 in five innings on Saturday afternoon at Tiger Stadium in an NCAA Division II Tournament winner's bracket contest. It was the second run rule loss for the Tigers this year.
FHSU, the No. 1 seed in the Central Region and 10th-ranked team in the country, dropped into the loser's bracket at 6 p.m. Saturday. The Tigers were set to play the winner of fifth-seeded Minot State and No. 8 Emporia State University. Fort Hays dropped to 46-11, while Central Oklahoma, ranked No. 19 nationally, improved to 44-11.
"Obviously, a little disappointed in the loss in that game," second-year coach Erin Kinberger said. "But looking forward to coming out at 6 o'clock and turning it around."
Holub, who had allowed just 26 runs in 38 appearances all year before Saturday, dropped to 28-3. She finished with eight runs (four earned) and four hits in two-thirds of an inning.
In two NCAA appearances, Holub has allowed 11 hits and 11 runs (seven earned) in 7.2 innings. Her earned-run average has bumped from 0.77 to 1.06.
The outing is Holub's second shortest start of her outstanding career. Her shortest came on April 9, 2010 in a home doubleheader against Northwest Missouri State University when she lasted 0.1 inning and allowed two runs on three hits.
Several coaches and players, including Holub, have said the strike zone has been smaller than usual the last two days. However, Holub made no excuses.
"Coming out here, there is a lot of pressure and I am working my way through it," said Holub, named first team all-region Friday. "Obviously, I haven't had my best stuff this weekend yet, but I am very confident that I am going to come back, and we are going to fight and I am going to do my part and do whatever I can do."
On Friday, UCO struggled offensively in the first round against Minot State, but came through with two sixth-inning runs in a 2-0 victory. After the first victory, coach Genny Stidham said the Bronchos had some nerves. Following the game, Stidham said the team "ate a lot of dessert."
"We knew that at some point in time we were going to break out," Stidham said. "We weren't for sure at what time, and we were lucky enough today that it broke out in that first inning."
Dziadula's triple led to an inning that featured five hits and two errors. After a lineout to Holub, senior designated player Kacie Edwards walked. Then sophomore third baseman Nicole Workman delivered a RBI double to right-center. A hit batter and two singles brought in three more runs.
"I am leadoff and my job is to get on base," Dziadula said. "I came ready, and we all came ready. Anything that they were going to throw me, I was going to get on the base no matter what. That was my duty and that's what I did and started the mojo off right, and we finished it off right."
Then junior shortstop Hannah Justus grounded back to Holub. She looked the runner back to third, but couldn't make the play to first.
After a force play kept the bases loaded, Dziadula hit a ground ball deep in the hole between third base and short. Junior Kellsi Olsen fielded the ball, but threw wild to first and three runs scored.
"It's a play that I can get to, and I should have had that," Olsen said. "I will get it next time."
A hit by pitch and two-run double from Edwards ended the inning. FHSU came back with one run in the third and two in the fifth, but took its first run-rule loss since a 10-2, five-inning road defeat to University of Central Missouri on April 21. Left-hander Kaylnn Shrock (27-6) worked five innings for the victory. Fort Hays will now need to win three straight to win the regional, while UCO needs just one victory Sunday.
"That a good win, and we are excited that we get to come back and play tomorrow," Stidham said. "We are the undefeated seed. It's a good feeling to be in that spot."