EDMOND, Okla. - A strong pitching performance from starter Ethan Booe was not enough for the Fort Hays State baseball team Thursday (April 18), with the Tigers (3-32, 2-23) falling to Central Oklahoma (25-14, 15-10) in the series opener, 4-1. The freshman did not give up a hit over the first 6.2 innings before the Bronchos took the lead for good with a two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh.
The Tigers had a good chance to strike first after Landon Erway doubled down the left field line to open the contest, but he was stranded on third after two of UCO starter Dylan Hall's 14 strikeouts got the Bronchos out of the inning.
Booe retired the first eight hitters he faced before a Broncho reached on an error in the home half of the third. The righty bounced back to retire the next nine batters in order, keeping the game scoreless heading into the seventh inning.
Fort Hays State also had its struggles at the plate, with Hall retiring 19 consecutive batters after surrendering the double in the first at bat of the game. The Tigers put two in scoring position in the top of the seventh, but Hall picked up another big strikeout to escape.
After Booe got two quick outs in the seventh, UCO scraped together three straight hits to take a 2-0 lead before adding a pair of unearned runs in the eighth.
Trailing 2-0 in the top of the eighth, the Tigers called on Jared Haynes to come out of the dugout and pinch hit. The Hays native made the most of the opportunity, sending a 2-2 pitch soaring over the fence in right center for his first collegiate home run. The long ball helped FHSU cut the deficit in half, 2-1.
Booe (0-9) finished with six strikeouts over seven-plus innings of work, allowing just two earned runs on four hits and one walk. Ryan Brown came on to finish the game, giving up one hit and striking out one while tossing one full frame. Jordan Wilkerson collected the only other Tiger hit on the evening.
FHSU and UCO will continue the weekend series Friday at 3 p.m. from Wendell Simmons Field.