One big inning spelled trouble Friday for the Fort Hays State University baseball team.
The Tigers, after giving up an eight-run fourth inning by visiting Southwest Baptist (Mo.) University, dropped a 14-4 run-rule decision to the Bearcats that was called after seven innings. The loss opened a three-game MIAA series at Larks Park.
“We gave up the big inning. That is the game in a nutshell,” FHSU coach Steve Johnson said. “You can’t give up seven runs with two outs, and that’s what we did.”
FHSU led early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first. The Tigers’ leadoff hitter, Ty Redington, was hit by SBU’s Cory Borsh on a 3-2 count. After drawing several throws at first base, Redington moved to second as Caleb Cherryholmes drew a walk.
FHSU’s Austin Unrein then reached on an error by SBU’s shortstop Sean Murley, allowing Redington to score from second. The Tigers, though, stranded two.
After the Bearcats scored two in the third, the wheels came off for the Tigers.
In the fourth, the Tigers looked as if they might escape with just giving up one run with two outs. But as the inning wore on, Tiger starter DJ Car could only locate his fastball for strikes, and the Bearcat batters took advantage. The biggest shot came off the bat of Chance Wolf, a three-run home run over the right-center field wall to give SBU an 8-1 lead.
“He was basically operating that inning with one pitch. (He) was down in a lot of counts and when fastballs got in there, they were all elevated,” Johnson said. “There’s not many teams in this league that don’t hit fastballs in hitter’s counts.”
FHSU did make an attempt at a rally in the seventh but couldn’t break the run-rule.
The biggest hit was provided by Joe Mapes. The Tigers loaded the bases after Unrein was hit by a pitch, bringing Mapes to the plate.
“He gave me fastball on the outer half. I was just on time with it and hit it to left-center,” Mapes said of his bases-clearing double over the shortstop’s head.
The Tigers loaded the bases again in the inning after Conner Ross reached on a fielding error and Alex Weiss drew a walk, but left everyone stranded.
“Right now, we are in a mode where we are treading water. There is nothing wrong with treading water,” Johnson said. “If you are treading water and panic, you drown. If you tread water and stay calm, you’re going to come out if you’re swimming.”
Carr (1-2) took the loss. He pitched four innings, giving up 10 runs (only two earned) on eight hits with three walks and a strikeout. Cory Borsh (1-0) got the win for the Bearcats.
SW Baptist 13, Fort Hays 5
Saturday, the Bearcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning only to see FHSU rally to make it 3-2 after one complete.
SBU’s Chance Wolfe had a two-RBI home run off FHSU starter Logan Herd that made it 3-0, then the Tigers got on the board with a sacrifice fly by Austin Unrein, followed by an RBI single by Connor Ross.
That was all the scoring FHSU could muster, though, until the seventh, despite collecting 13 hits for the game.
SBU meanwhile, scored seven in the fifth to blow the game open. The Bearcats got to Herd again. The right-handed freshman ended up allowing eight runs (all earned) on nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Kyle Vogt came on and didn’t record an out for FHSU, giving up two more runs to the Bearcats in the inning.
In the seventh, Unrein drove in a pair of runs on a single for the Tigers, and Alex Weiss drove in a run in the ninth to set the final margin.
FHSU dropped to 9-10 overall and 3-5 in the MIAA. SBU moved to 8-9, 3-5. The loss was the fifth in a nine-game home stand for the Tigers.
The two teams will conclude the series with a noon contest today at Larks Park.
Southwest Baptist 13
Fort Hays 5
SBU (8-9, 3-5) 300 070 102 — 13 17 2
FHSU (9-10, 3-5) 200 000 201 — 5 13 0
Chernoff, Womack (7), Whitehead (9) and Hisky; Herd, Vogt (5), Rolfs (5), Basgall (7) and Hughes. W — Chefnoff (3-1). L — Herd (1-2). 2B — Sneed, Sherban, SBU; Cherryholmes, Hughes, FHSU. HR — Wolfe, Bowling, SBU.
SW Baptist 14, Fort Hays 4
SBU (7-9, 2-5) 002 804 0 — 14 12 3
FHSU (9-9, 3-4) 100 000 3 — 4 6 1
Borsh, Collins (7), Lovig (7) and Hisky; Carr, Amen (5), Renninson (6), Astalos (7) and Redington. W — Borsh (1-0). L — Carr (1-2). 2B — Binger, Bowling, Baptist; Mapes, FHSU.