Tiger softball splits with Roadrunners in Denver

Rick Peterson Jr.
Hays Daily News

DENVER – Fort Hays State maintained its level overall record by splitting a doubleheader at MSU Denver on Tuesday. The Tigers won game one 4-0 behind a strong pitching effort by Megan Jamison and Michaelanne Nelson, but came up one run short in game two by a score of 4-3. FHSU is now 14-14 overall, while MSU Denver moved to 14-6 on the season.

Game 1: Fort Hays State 4, MSU Denver 0

Megan Jamison gave the Tigers a big effort in the pitching circle, holding MSU Denver scoreless through four innings. She scattered four hits and struck out one in that span as the Tigers held on to a 1-0 lead through five innings.

After Jamison escaped some trouble in the fourth inning, Michaelanne Nelson took over in the circle for the final three innings. She was able to preserve the win for Jamison, who was making her second start of the season, by holding the Roadrunners scoreless for three more innings. It was the first combined shutout by the Tigers this season and Nelson earned her first save of the season. Nelson allowed just two hits and a walk, while striking out two.

The Tigers scored their first run in the first inning when Jessica Espinoza drew a bases loaded walk. The Tigers had several chances to break the game open early on as they loaded the bases in each of the first three innings, but could not score more than just the one run.

After leaving 12 runners on base through the first five innings, the Tigers finally broke through in the sixth when Espinoza ripped a ball up the middle hard enough to roll all the way to the fence between the center fielder and right fielder. It resulted in a 2-RBI triple for Espinoza, moving her RBI total for the game to three. In the seventh, Lily Sale tacked on another run with a deep solo home run to center field.

Destinee Lopez took the loss for the Roadrunners in the pitching circle, though she threw a complete game. She allowed 10 hits, walked five, and struck out three.

Game 2: MSU Denver 4, Fort Hays State 3

The Tigers fell down 4-0 in game two before putting together a fourth-inning rally to pull within a run of the Roadrunners. However, they could not find any more runs over the final three innings as they fell 4-3.

MSU Denver did its offensive damage early, scoring two runs in the first and third innings. An RBI single and a wild pitch produced the first two runs of the game for the Roadrunners. A solo home run and then a pair of doubles produced the two runs in the third, chasing FHSU starter Hailey Chapman from the game through 2.1 innings.

Megan Jamison continued her great day in the pitching circle by holding the Roadrunners scoreless in 3.2 innings of relief. She allowed just two hits and recorded her only strikeout of game two in a crucial moment right after taking over in the circle. She finished the day with 7.2 innings of scoreless work between the two contests.

The Tigers promptly got back in the game in the fourth inning after Jamison ended the Roadrunner rally in the third. Lily Sale and Elise Capra opened up the inning with back-to-back doubles to produce the first Tiger run. After a Hannah Gates infield single and a Katie Adler sacrifice bunt, Capra came in to score on a wild pitch. With two outs, Grace Philop drove home Gates on a single.

Loren Beggs gave the Tigers a fighting shot in the seventh with a one-out double, but a strikeout and flyout secured a win in relief for Darby McGhee. She pitched the final 3.1 innings for MSU Denver, allowing just two hits to the Tigers after stopping the FHSU rally in the fourth. She struck out three batters. Chapman took the loss for FHSU, allowing four runs on seven hits and a walk with one strikeout.

The Tigers will prep for another key MIAA doubleheader on Saturday (Apr. 10) at home when they host Nebraska-Kearney. The doubleheader begins at 1 p.m.