Fort Hays State Softball swept its home-opening doubleheader on Tuesday against Kansas Wesleyan, winning by a score of 5-4 twice. The Tigers needed eight innings to defeat the Coyotes in the first contest of the evening. FHSU moved to 8-4 overall, running its win streak to three games, while Kansas Wesleyan dropped to 3-3 overall.
Game 1: Fort Hays State 5, Kansas Wesleyan 4 (8 inn.)
Fort Hays State needed a late rally to get past Kansas Wesleyan in the opener of the twinbill. Kansas Wesleyan built a 4-0 lead through two innings, only to see FHSU rally for two in the fourth, one in the sixth, and one in the seventh to tie the game. FHSU completed the comeback with a run in the eighth, securing an extra-inning win for the second straight game (defeated Oklahoma Baptist 1-0 in eight innings back on Sunday).
Megan Jamison navigated her way through four innings in the circle for FHSU to start the game. She surrendered seven of Kansas Wesleyan's nine hits and struck out two, but only one of her four runs allowed were earned due to defensive miscues by the Tigers in the second inning that allowed three runs to cross the plate. Jamison worked around baserunners in the third and fourth innings to keep the Tiger deficit at four.
Kansas Wesleyan opened the door for the Tigers to climb back in the game in the fourth. After Terran Caldwell and Kristen Reed started the inning with back-to-back singles, they came in to score on a fielding error with two outs that cut the lead in half to 4-2.
In the sixth, Grace Philop came up with a clutch RBI single to plate Caldwell, who opened the inning with a walk. Katie Adler nearly tied the game, but the pitcher snared her liner back up the middle with two outs, stranding a runner at third.
Elise Capra was hit by a pitch with one out in the seventh, triggering the game-tying rally. Lexi Kagan followed with a seeing-eye single through the right side and then Caldwell drew yet another key walk. Reed came up with the clutch sacrifice fly RBI to left field to get the game tied. Kansas Wesleyan starter Tara Stubits was able to escape a potential walk-off in the seventh by getting a strikeout to end the Tiger threat.
After FHSU started its rally back into the game, Hailey Chapman entered the pitching circle at the start of the fifth inning. She allowed only two hits through the final four innings, giving FHSU the chance to come back. She retired the side in order in the eighth to give the Tigers a chance to win it in the bottom half, which they did.
After Stubits picked up one out in the circle for KWU, she allowed three consecutive singles to Philop, Adler, and Lily Sale. Philop held up at third on Sale's single to right center field, but came in to score when the throw from the outfield got through the catcher.
Chapman picked up the win in relief, striking out four batters. She moved to 4-3 on the year. Stubits took the loss for KWU in the complete-game effort, allowing just two earned runs.
Game 2: Fort Hays State 5, Kansas Wesleyan 4
In a reversal of script, Fort Hays State was the team to build a big lead early in game two, but five runs was enough to hold off a late scoring charge from Kansas Wesleyan.
Kristen Reed hit a moon shot solo homer to right field in the first inning, then Elise Capra hit a missile over the left-center wall early in the second inning to make it 2-0. Both were first home runs of the season for Reed and Capra. Reed came back around to bat in the second with the bases loaded and laced a bases-clearing double to left field, making the score 5-0.
Michaelanne Nelson, fresh off her eight-inning no hitter in Oklahoma, received the start for the Tigers. She kept her hitless streak rolling for the first three innings of the game, making it 11 consecutive innings without allowing a hit. She had faced 42 consecutive batters without allowing a hit, spanning 11.1 innings of work, going back to the final out she recorded against St. Edward's last weekend. But Tara Stubits, the game-one pitcher for KWU, snapped the streak in the fourth with a two-run home run making the score 5-2. Nelson allowed two more singles in the inning before handing the ball to Mahealani Haegele in relief. The Coyotes picked up one more run before the end of the inning, cutting the Tiger lead to two.
Haegele worked around baserunners in the fifth and sixth to keep the Coyotes off the scoreboard until the final inning. She gave up a double to open the seventh and then handed the ball to Hailey Chapman, looking to get her first save of the season. Back-to-back deep flyouts generated a run for the Coyotes, but Chapman finished the game with a pop up on the infield. Chapman preserved the relief win for Haegele, who allowed five hits in 2.2 innings of work. Haegele struck out two batters.
Capra, Adler, Reed, and Caldwell all hit at least .500 on the day in the doubleheader. Capra was 3-for-3, Adler 5-for-7, Reed 3-for-6, and Caldwell 2-for-4. Reed had five RBIs, four in the second game and the most crucial RBI in game one to tie the game and force extra innings.
Fort Hays State takes its three-game win streak into another five-game weekend in Oklahoma. The Tigers have five games Friday-Sunday (Feb. 21-23) in the Edmond/Oklahoma City area for the second straight week.