Nelson's gem helps Tigers earn split at WU
TOPEKA — After watching Washburn's Jaycee Ginter silence the Tiger bats with a no-hitter in the first game of Friday's doubleheader, Fort Hays State pitcher Michaelanne Nelson turned the tables on the Ichabods.
Nelson followed up Ginter's no-no with a gem of her own, throwing a two-hit shutout in the Tigers' 4-0 win in the nightcap at WU's Gahnstrom Field.
Nelson, a senior from Perry, Okla., struck out a season-high 11 batters on Friday to help the Tigers secure the split and snap Washburn's nine-game win streak. She retired 13 straight batters from the first inning through the end of the fifth, and allowed only one walk for the game.
Ginter was just one out from a perfect game in Washburn's 2-0 win in the first game, giving up a walk to Grace Philop in the second inning for the Tigers' only baserunner.
“We knew that we were going to kind of have a pitcher’s duel coming in here. They’ve got a couple of really good arms, as do we," Fort Hays State coach Adrian Pilkington said. "I think they got a little bit lucky landing some hits in the first game that we didn’t, but [Nelson] was just focused. She went in there, worked one batter at a time and just gave us every opportunity to win.’’
It was the second straight two-hit shutout from Nelson, who blanked Lincoln last week. She improved to 5-6 in the circle and lowered her earned-run average to 1.68.
"Michaelanne Nelson is a good pitcher in this conference and she has been,'' Washburn coach Brenda Holaday said. "She was really good for them last year in the shortened season.
"We told our kids she would be extremely tough and the (strike) zone helped her, but we also didn't make the adjustments that you need to make at the college level.''
Ginter put Washburn (17-4, 3-1 MIAA) on the board in the first game with a run-scoring double in the fourth inning. WU added a sacrifice fly from Marrit Mead in the fourth inning.
Hailey Chapman was solid in the circle for the Tigers. She worked around eight hits and three walks to limit the Ichabods to the two runs.
A big fourth inning helped FHSU avenge the Game 1 loss. Loren Beggs helped ignite the rally with a single and Sara Breckbill followed with a double. Philop then delivered an RBI single and Kristen Reed produced a two-run double. Terran Caldwell's single drove in the Tigers' fourth and final run.
Fort Hays moved to 9-11 overall and 3-1 in the MIAA.
"I'm certainly proud of the kids, the way that they bounced back,'' Pilkington said. "They could have come out a little bit flat after that first one, but they didn't. They had a focus and they started from inning one.''
The Tigers were set to play a doubleheader at Emporia State on Saturday.