Hurt by homers and missed opportunities, the Fort Hays State University baseball team saw its losing streak hit seven after Saturday’s doubleheader against Central Oklahoma at Larks Park.
UCO smacked seven home runs and 16 extra-base hits during the twin bill, sweeping FHSU 6-1 and 17-6.
The Bronchos and Tigers each had eight hits in the first game but the difference was UCO’s three home runs.
“In game one, I thought (FHSU starter) Sam Capps came out and was very competitive,” FHSU coach Steve Johnson said. “We didn’t make very many mistakes; we didn’t make any errors on defense. The hits were even, but they ended up having three big hits that pretty much ended up driving in all the runs with home runs. We didn’t get that big hit.”
The Tigers (9-14, 1-10 MIAA) couldn’t capitalize on a prime scoring opportunity in the top of the first after loading the bases. FHSU put its first three batters of the game on base after Addison Kaasch led off with a single, Clayton Basgall reached on an error and Alex Weiss bunted for a single. However, Dayton Pomeroy hit a grounder back to UCO starter Ryan Lemoine for a double play, and Lemoine struck out Cody Starkel to get the Bronchos out of the jam.
“We had a chance right there (for a big inning),” Johnson said. “If we’re performing offensively, that’s not just getting a few runs, that’s the type of inning where you maybe throw up five, six, seven runs. To get none out of it, when you’re in a delicate state like we are right now, that’s a huge momentum killer.”
The Bronchos (17-8, 9-2 MIAA) grabbed the lead with a two-run home run to right center in the top of the second. FHSU scored its lone run in the bottom of the inning after Kaasch brought home Ryan Grasser on a single to the left side.
UCO added a run off a single from Dayne Sommer in the third and Wilkerson went deep again in the fourth with a solo shot to left center. Trae Smith then hit a two-run home run in the fifth, his first homer of the year, to finish the scoring for the game.
Capps went five innings, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out four. Austin Weiser didn’t allow a hit in four innings of relief for the Tigers.
The Bronchos teed off in the first inning second game, smacking three home runs off Tigers’ starter Ryan Ruder to take a 4-0 lead. Kyle Kropf had a two-run homer and Freeman and Taylor Avila each had solo shots.
“We just off to a bad start,” Johnson said. “Ryan’s typically very, very steady for us, and his last couple of outings his fastball is just cutting the across the plate, and we need different action out of it. They jumped him early."
UCO broke it open with five runs on six hits in the top of second inning. The Bronchos stretched their lead to by the seventh inning 14-3 after getting three runs in the frame, including a two-run home run of Kropf.
Starkel homered to right in the bottom of the second to put the Tigers on the board. FHSU scored a run in the bottom of the fourth after Weiss led off with a double and was brought home by Starkel’s groundout to the shortstop. The Tigers got a run off an UCO error in the sixth inning and plated three in the seventh to avoid the run rule. Pomeroy had a two-run double in the seventh and came home on a Weiss groundout for FHSU’s final run.
Jason Nicholson, Pomeroy and Weiss each had two hits in the second game for the Tigers.
The series will conclude at 1 p.m. on Sunday.