A five-RBI day from Dayton Pomeroy helped the Fort Hays State University baseball team knock off Newman in its home opener Thursday at Larks Park, 13-9. The Tigers move to 4-1 on the year, while Newman is now 0-1.
The Tiger senior first baseman collected all five RBI in the first two innings, helping the Tigers quickly turn a 4-0 deficit into an 8-4 lead.
Fort Hays State collected its 13 runs on nine hits and three Jet errors, while Newman used 14 hits, including three home runs, and one Tiger miscue to score nine times.
The Jets pushed four runs across in the first inning, but FHSU quickly responded. Clayton Basgall was first to reach base, sending a single to center. Pomeroy came through with his first big hit after Alex Weiss reached on a dropped fly ball, lifting a towering home run just inside the left field foul pole to trim the deficit to one, 4-3.
After starter Tanner Smith worked out of trouble in the top of the second with a lineout double play and a strikeout, the Tigers added five runs in the home half of the inning to take the lead for good. The first eight runners all reached base safely in the inning for FHSU. Ryan Grasser led things off with a walk, quickly advancing to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch. Marcus Altman tied things up at 4-4 with a single to right before Jason Nicholson reached on an error.
Basgall put the Tigers in front when he went the opposite way with a two-run single to right. Dayton Pomeroy helped FHSU double its lead to 8-4 when he crushed a pitch off the wall in right center, scoring Basgall and Weiss.
The Tigers appeared poised to keep building their lead after the next two batters reached base, loading the bases with no outs. However, the Jets worked out of trouble and got out of the jam with two groundouts and a strikeout.
Newman responded with a pair of runs in the third inning, but FHSU added three runs after batting around for the second inning in a row to maintain a big lead. Addison Kaasch drove in the opening run with a bases-loaded single up the middle, scoring Basgall. Jordan Wilkerson made the score 10-6 when he reached on a botched sacrifice fly to right, plating Weiss. Pomeroy came around to score in the next at bat when Cody Starkel drew a bases-loaded walk, putting the Tigers in front 11-6 after just three innings.
Both sides went down in order in the fourth inning before getting back to their scoring ways in the fifth inning. Newman closed within 11-8 in the top of the inning, but FHSU got both runs back in the home half of the frame when Wilkerson crushed his second home run of the year over the fence in left.
Nursing a five-run lead, the Tiger bullpen did its job down the stretch, holding the Jets to just one run over the next four innings. Ryan Ruder (1-0) started things off by quieting the Newman bats over 3.2 innings of work, giving up the two fifth-inning runs while striking out five.
Easton Palmer then came in to mow through the lineup, allowing just one base runner over his first two innings of work. Newman scored one run on three hits off the righty in the ninth, forcing the Tigers to go to Cody Rottinghaus to close things out. With the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate, the Seneca, Kan. native secured the win after completely fooling the Newman nine-hole hitter, striking out Turner Lace on four pitches. Rottinghaus earned his first save of the year in the process.
Pomeroy finished the day 2-for-3 with five RBI and three runs scored. Basgall and Weiss also scored three runs each while Wilkerson drove in a season-high three RBI.
The Tigers will now travel to Wichita to take on the Jets in Game 2 of the series today at 2 p.m.
The teams have also announced that Game 3 of the series will be played at Larks Park on Monday with first pitch set for 3 p.m.