Tigers softball splits at Washburn Invitational

FHSU Sports Information

TOPEKA, Kan. – Fort Hays State Softball settled for a split for the second straight day at the Washburn Invitational. The Tigers pounded out 10 hits in a 9-2 win over Truman in the morning before falling to Wayne State (Neb.) 3-2 in their final game of the tournament.

Fort Hays State 9, Truman 2

The Tigers started off a bit shaky in their first game of the day, but the offense provided plenty of firepower in the first contest of the day. An error on the first play of the game and then a bunt base hit set up a 2-run triple by Cameryn Patterson of Truman, putting the Tigers in a 2-0 hole early. However, the Tigers chipped away with single runs in the first and second on RBI singles by Sara Breckbill and Jessica Espinoza to level the game after two innings.

The Tigers really poured on the offense in the third with five runs to take a commanding 7-2 lead. Loren Beggs drove home the first run of the inning on a single to right field that was misplayed by the fielder. Eventually the Tigers loaded the bases and then Sarah Tiffany and Grace Philop each produced 2-RBI singles to break the game open. FHSU added another pair of runs in the sixth on a Breckbill double and a Loren Beggs triple.

Michaelanne Nelson settled in to retired the Truman side in order in four of the final six innings. She also worked out of a bases loaded one-out jam in the fifth by getting a strikeout and groundout. She picked up her second win of the season by allowing just one earned run and six hits with no walks. Nelson struck out five. The Bulldogs used three pitchers in the game and starter Rachael Kernich took the loss in just 1.1 innings of work.

Wayne State (Neb.) 3, Fort Hays State 2

The Tigers pulled even twice with the Wildcats, but a pair of well placed dribblers by Wayne State in the top of the seventh produced the decisive run in the nightcap.

The Wildcats got on the board first in the second inning when a Tiger fielding error with two outs allowed a run to cross from third. The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom half of the second and Jessica Espinoza picked up an RBI by patiently drawing a walk.

Wayne State moved back in front in the fourth with three straight singles to produce a run. However, Grace Philop had the answer for that in the fifth inning with a two-out RBI single to left center. Sarah Tiffany swiped second base just before to set up the run-scoring opportunity.

The Tigers had runners at second and third with two outs in the sixth, but could not push a run across. Wayne State followed with some luck on a pair of balls put in play in the seventh. With one out, Emily Hale hit a dribbler down the third base line just a few feet out from home plate with slow pace. She was just about through first base when the Tigers committed a throwing error to compound the situation. Hale moved up to second on the error. Two batters later, Kim Vidlak also hit a dribbler just a few feet out in front of home plate down the first base line and catcher Sara Breckbill's throw to first was too late. The run was unearned due to the error. Both of the errors committed by FHSU in the game allowed two unearned runs for Wayne State. The Tigers could not find a rally in the bottom of the seventh as they were retired in order to end the game.

Hailey Chapman took a tough-luck loss despite allowing just one earned run. She scattered seven hits and walked two, while striking out six in a complete-game effort. Hadley Chvatal tossed a complete game for Wayne State to get the win. She allowed six hits and walked two, while striking out four.

Now 4-8 overall on the season, the Tigers will play a pair of games on Friday (Mar. 5) in Emporia, Kansas against a pair of teams they just faced this weekend. The Tigers take on Missouri-St. Louis at 12:30 pm and then Wayne State at 5:30 pm at Trusler Sports Complex.