The Fort Hays State University softball team will head into MIAA play next week with a momentum boost gained from a strong showing in Wednesday’s doubleheader sweep of Wayne State.
FHSU saw production throughout the lineup, putting up 27 hits on the day as the Tigers picked up 6-4 and 10-5 wins at Tiger Stadium, snapping a nine-game skid.
“It was a great confidence boost for us,” Fort Hays State coach Adrian Pilkington said. “I just felt like we hit throughout and we did the little things. We even realized as a team that we can win and still make some mistakes and recover from it.”
FHSU rallied from early deficits in both games to improve to 4-14 on the season. Six different Tigers had multi-hit games during a 14-hit outing in the first game and the Tigers stayed hot at the plate during the nightcap, using a pair of four-run innings to complete the sweep.
“We hit throughout the lineup today, which is something we haven’t been consistently doing in the past,” Pilkington said. “Usually it was just kind of falling on a few kids. I feel like everybody did their part today.”
Wayne State put up three runs in the top of the second inning of the first game, but FHSU answered back with four in the bottom of the frame. Terran Caldwell put the Tigers on the board with a two-run single up the middle and FHSU also got RBI singles from Veronica Knittig and Bailey Boxberger in the inning.
Wayne State evened it up at 4 with a run in the third, but FHSU moved back in front to stay on Sara Breckbill’s two-run double to left field.
Grace Philop led the Tigers with a three-hit game, while Caldwell, Breckbill, Boxberger, Candace Bollig and Knittig had two hits apiece.
“We focused on a few things yesterday that have kind of been a problem for us over the last several games,” Pilkington said. “We just kind of locked in and tried to focus on tracking pitches and attacking the ones that we like in our zone.”
Hailey Chapman earned the win in the first game, allowing four runs on eight hits with three strikeouts. Rodriquez picked up the save after giving up just two hits in three innings of work.
In the nightcap, Fort Hays State evened it up at 2 in the bottom of the second on a two-run single from Rodriguez. Wayne State led 4-2 before the Tigers put up four runs in the fourth. Rodriquez, Knittig and Syndey Harsh had RBI singles while Bollig had a sac fly in the inning.
Wayne State cut FHSU’s lead to 6-5 and had the tying run in scoring position in the fifth before Chapman came in and immediately started mowing down Wildcats. She stranded the runner by striking out three straight hitters on 10 pitches and finished the game with seven strikeouts while allowing just two hits in three innings to earn the save.
“Hailey coming in and out closing that game out was great to see,” Pilkington said. “She had given up a few hits and she could have been discouraged but she came in and had a presence and had an attitude and did exactly what her team needed her to do.”
The Tigers put away the Wildcats with a four-run sixth, aided by two errors from Wayne State, which dropped to 1-4 on the season.
Sarah Kay had three hits for the Tigers in the second game, while Knittig, Philop and Rodriguez each had two.
Fort Hays State will begin MIAA play against Northeastern State on March 9 in Tahlequah, Okla.