TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Fort Hays State baseball dropped their series opener with Northeastern State on Thursday (March 21), 4-3. The Tigers dipped to 2-19 overall and 2-11 in MIAA play as the RiverHawks moved to 5-21 on the season and 3-10 in conference action.
Landon Erway produced three hits in the contest for the Tigers, as his first came in the opening frame on a single up the middle. Erway wrapped around to third base after Kyler Cox delivered a sacrifice bunt and a RiverHawk wild pitch. The Tigers stranded him at third and couldn't capitalize. Northeastern State scored in the first on an RBI single to left center, taking a 1-0 lead after one frame.
The Tigers fell victim to another RiverHawk run in the second after allowing an RBI double to right center, trailing Northeastern State 2-0 after two innings. NSU put up another two runs in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead into the fifth.
Erway then roped a double to right center, plating Garrett Francis from first and putting the Tigers on the scoreboard. FHSU trailed NSU 4-1 after six innings.
FHSU was able to get two runs back in the top of the seventh after Grasser earned a spot on first when he was beaned with a pitch. Jared Haynes delivered a pinch hit single to right field, pushing Grasser to second. Both runners moved up a base after a wild pitch from RiverHawk starter Jonathan Smithey. Garrett Francis then placed a 2 RBI single into right field, scoring Grasser and Haynes to cut the RiverHawk lead to one, 4-3.
Tiger reliever Ryan Brown shut down the RiverHawks in the eighth, setting up a potential comeback bid in the ninth. In the top of the ninth, Grasser earned his second walk of the contest and advanced to second on a wild pitch. However, Grasser was clipped at third on a steal attempt leaving the bases empty. Jared Maneth then walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Francis. Erway stranded Maneth at second after ending the game with a strikeout.
Ryan Ruder (1-4) was charged with the loss for the Tigers after allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits across six innings of work. Ruder earned six strikeouts on the day. Brown came on in relief and tossed two scoreless frames, only allowing one hit.
The Tigers and RiverHawks will lace them up again for game two on Friday (March 22) with first pitch at 2 p.m. from Thomas C. Rousey field.