BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Fort Hays State dropped both of its games on the opening day of the 2019 season. The Tigers could only muster a single run in each game, falling 3-1 to Arkansas-Monticello and 4-1 to Arkansas Tech on Saturday (Feb. 9).
Arkansas-Monticello 3, Fort Hays State 1
Fort Hays State fell down 3-0 before its pushed its only run of the game across in the seventh inning. Michaelanne Nelson nearly escaped trouble in the first inning of her Tiger debut in the pitching circle, but a passed ball allowed one UAM run to score for an early 1-0 lead.
In the fourth, a high-chopper single back to Nelson turned into trouble as her errant throw to first allowed the batter to reach second. After surrendering a walk, Nelson allowed her only earned runs of the game on a two-run double by Haley Godeaux to the left field corner. Nelson got one out in the fifth before handing the ball over to Hailey Chapman, who allowed nothing to the Cotton Blossoms over the final 1.2 innings. Nelson finished with three strikeouts, taking the loss.
A Megan Feiner double with one out in the seventh led to the Tigers' only run of the game. Two batters later Lily Sale laced a double to drive Feiner in from third. That allowed the tying run to come to the plate, but Terran Caldwell grounded out to end the game.
Abigail Leonards went the distance in the circle for UAM, scattering seven hits without a walk. She struck out five batters in her complete game winning effort.
#20 Arkansas Tech 4, Fort Hays State 1
Fort Hays State enjoyed its first lead of the 2019 season in the top of the third when Terran Caldwell drove a solo home run over the right-center field wall. Unfortunately, it was the only hit of nine by the Tigers to produce a run in a 4-1 loss to 20th-ranked Arkansas Tech.
Hailey Chapman escaped runner-in-scoring-position threats from Arkansas Tech in the first, third, and fourth innings, but could not escape a jam in the fifth. With runners at second and third, Chapman induced a pop up on the infield for the second out of the inning. However, she could not get past Megan Goodnight, who changed the complexion of the game with a three-run home run to left-center field. A leadoff double and then RBI single by the Golden Suns in the sixth extended the lead to 4-1.
Fort Hays State threatened in both the sixth and seventh, loading the bases both innings. However, a ground ball double play ended the threat in the sixth and a fly out to right field in the seventh snuffed out the Tiger comeback bids.
Chapman took the loss in a complete game effort. She allowed nine hits and two walks, while striking out three. Kristen Dempsey picked up the win for ATU, allowing eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Bailey Shaffer earned the save by getting the final two outs of the game.
Fort Hays State returns to action on Sunday morning (Feb. 10) in Edmond, Oklahoma at the Edmond Softball Festival. With Sunday's action canceled in Arkansas, the Tigers are picking up a game against Colorado Christian at 10 am at Broncho Softball Stadium, University of Central Oklahoma's home field.