Fort Hays State Softball split a pair of MIAA games with Northeastern State on Monday. The Tigers held on for a 4-3 win in the first game before falling by a score of 9-4 in the second contest. FHSU is now 13-12 overall, 6-4 in the MIAA, while NSU moved to 20-13 overall, 8-2 in the MIAA.
Game 1: Fort Hays State 4, Northeastern State 3
Fort Hays State rallied twice for the lead and then held on late for a 4-3 win. Trailing NSU 1-0 after an inning, FHSU scored twice in the third to take the lead for the first time, 2-1. NSU took the lead back, 3-2, with a pair of runs in the top of the fifth, but FHSU answered with a pair in the bottom half to create the final advantage of 4-3.
The Tigers tied the game in the third at 1-1 when Jeni Mohr and Katie Adler used some crafty baserunning after the RiverHawks recorded an out at second base. Adler, who put the ball in play, rounded first base after she was easily safe at first. The pitcher tried to make a play on her at second, but Mohr came in to score from third base, getting in under a tag. Grace Philop then drove in Adler from second with an RBI single up the middle.
Northeastern State tied the game with a two-out RBI single in the fifth by Alyssia Crick, she moved up to second on the throw home and then a muffed throw allowed her to move to third. She then came in to score on an RBI single by Madison Boyd as NSU took the lead back with an unearned run.
Philop, Sara Breckbill, and Bailey Boxberger, who all finished with two hits in the game, rallied the Tigers back in the bottom of the fifth with three straight singles. Boxberger's RBI single to right field tied the game. Elise Capra followed with a sacrifice fly RBI to center field, putting the Tigers back in front for good even though they had to get through a pair of high-stress situations in the sixth and seventh.
A pair of walks by NSU to open the sixth led to runners at second and third with just one out. Hailey Chapman relieved starter Michaelanne Nelson after the pair of walks and got out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts. In the seventh, Chapman worked around a single and then a fielding error that put runners at first and second. She got a foul pop up to end the game.
Nelson moved to 5-6 with the win, allowing three runs (two earned) on four hits and two walks. She struck out five. Chapman picked up a two-inning save, striking out three with one hit allowed. It was her first save of the season. Gail Young took the loss for NSU, allowing four runs (two earned) on eight hits with a strikeout in her complete-game effort.
Game 2: Northeastern State 9, Fort Hays State 4
Northeastern State reversed roles in the second game, earning a comeback win after falling down early 2-0. NSU plated runs in five straight innings, from the second through sixth, to earn the split.
FHSU took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, set up on back-to-back singles by Katie Adler and Grace Philop. Sara Breckbill brought in Adler on a sacrifice fly RBI, then Bailey Boxberger had an RBI single up the middle.
The RiverHawks benefitted from an error in the second to get the game tied. After a leadoff single eventually turned into a run, an error helped extend the inning and Alyssia Crick tied the game with an RBI single. Another error in the third led to two of three runs in the inning being unearned as NSU took a 5-2 lead.
The Tigers got two of the runs back in the bottom of the third with an RBI single by Breckbill and then a run scoring on a throwing error by the RiverHawks, reducing the lead to 5-4. However, that was as close as they would get as a solo homer in the fourth and RBI single in the fifth pushed the lead back out to three for NSU. The RiverHawks added on a pair of runs in the sixth to create even more distance.
Northeastern State starter Sydney Balderrama settled in after allowing four runs (three earned) in the first three innings. She retired the final 12 Tiger batters of the game, going flawless over the fourth through seventh innings in a complete-game win. She allowed six hits and struck out four.
Hailey Chapman allowed six runs (three earned) in four innings pitched. She surrendered eight hits and walked one, while striking out four. Michaelanne Nelson allowed three runs in three innings of relief, giving up four hits and two walks with four strikeouts.