Dominant pitching in game one and an early offensive onslaught in the nightcap carried the Fort Hays State softball team to a dominant doubleheader sweep over Kansas Wesleyan in Wednesday’s home opener.
FHSU pitchers Sierra Rodriguez and Hailey Chapman combined for a shutout in the first game to lift the Tigers to a 2-0 win before the Tigers rolled to a 13-1 victory in the second game at Tiger Stadium.
After being held in check at the plate for most of game one, the Tigers (3-2) broke the second game open early with five runs in the first inning and three more in third to take an 8-0 lead. They forced the run rule in the fifth after tacking on five more runs in the bottom of the fourth.
“It was nice to see them make an adjustment,” FHSU coach Adrian Pilkington said. “I think we kind of struggled getting on that pitcher (Tara Stubits) in the first game. It was nice to see us clean the slate and go up there and hit like we can.
“I think in the first game we were kind of ahead it, and we just were not having very good pitch selection, so I think we just settled in a little bit and tracked the pitch a little bit better.”
Rodriguez threw the first four innings of the first game, giving up three hits and not surrendering a walk. Chapman didn't allow a hit in her three innings of work in relief to earn the win.
Megan Jamison drew the start for the second game and tossed three scoreless innings, scattering five hits. Michelanne Nelson then tossed the last 1.2 innings.
“I’m very encouraged with our pitching staff,” Pilkington said. “I think we have a lot of depth. I think we have a lot of variety and kids that can be successful in different situations. Everybody kind of got some time today, so that was nice for our staff.”
The first game was still scoreless heading to the bottom of the sixth before the Tigers scored two runs runs when a ball off the bat of Elise Capra was dropped by the Wesleyan center fielder.
Fort Hays State finished the day with 17 hits, putting up 11 in the second game. Sara Breckbill and Capra homered in game two and Breckbill, Terran Caldwell, Grace Philop and Bailey Boxberger each had a double. Philop went 3 for 3 at the plate in the second game while Katie Adler was 3 of 3 in the first game.
“I feel really good about our bats,” Pilkington said. “We had a really good weekend on the road. We hit the ball pretty well. I think we have some depth to our lineup and it’s nice to have several lefties in the lineup and give teams a different look.”
Wednesday's games were added to FHSU's schedule this week to make up for some games lost by weather. The Tigers were originally scheduled to play in a tournament in Bentonville, Ark., this weekend but that tournament has been canceled. But Fort Hays picked up four games at a tournament in Conway, Ark., on Saturday and Sunday.
“With the weather it’s been kind of tough so we’re just trying to take games when we can get them,” Pilkington said. “It was nice to have a home game for once. We’re kind of road warriors.”