The Fort Hays State baseball team dropped Game 3 of its weekend series against Central Oklahoma on Sunday, 17-10. The Tigers dipped to 9-15 overall and 1-11 in conference play, while the Bronchos moved to 18-8 on the season and 10-2 in MIAA action.
The Tigers were first to strike the scoreboard as they produced four runs in the home half of the first frame. Jason Nicholson led off with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt. He came around to score on a RBI triple that hit the center field wall from Addison Kaasch. Kaasch scored on the next play, when Alex Weiss roped a double to right center. Weiss crossed home plate on an RBI groundout from Ryan Grasser, giving the Tigers the early 4-0 advantage.
Central Oklahoma answered right away with two runs in the second inning, then the Bronchos proceeded to take the lead in the third with a six-run offensive explosion that chased Tiger starter Ben Ramberg from the mound. Tanner Smith came on in relief and picked up two ground outs, only allowing one runner to score.
FHSU stormed back into the lead in the fifth inning, Smith shut the Bronchos down in the fourth and fifth frames, taking a 10-8 lead. Dayton Pomeroy started the inning by destroying a baseball through the crisp, cool western Kansas air over the left center wall, good enough for his team-leading eighth long ball of the season. Jordan Wilkerson got in on the action with a RBI double, scoring Cody Starkel from second. Then Nicholson added a couple more RBI to the scoresheet with a single up the heart of the defense, bringing around Wilkerson and Ryan Grasser. Kaasch earned his first double of the afternoon, plating Nicholson in the process. Kaasch crossed the plate on a Weiss RBI double through the right side.
The Bronchos quickly matched that six-run frame from the Tigers with a six-run inning of their own. UCO regained the lead for good after 5.5 innings, 14-10. UCO tacked on a run in the seventh and a pair of runs in the eighth, making it 17-10 as the Tigers were shut out the rest of the way.
Addison Kaasch had a big day at the plate after reaching base in all six trips to the batter’s box. Kaasch finished the game with one triple, three doubles, a single and a free pass to first. Starkel went 3-for-4 on the afternoon, while Nicholson reached base safely in half of his at-bats (3-for-6).
Smith (1-4) was charged with the loss in the contest. Austin Lambright earned the victory for the Bronchos. The Tigers weren’t able to capitalize in the game as they stranded 12 runners as opposed to the Bronchos six men left on base. There was not a shortage of runs in the clash between the Tigers and Bronchos as the teams combined for 27 runs on 33 hits in the contest.
FHSU will be back in action Tuesday in a 5 p.m. single game at Washburn in Topeka.