Tiger baseball completes sweep of Griffons

FHSU Sports Information
FHSU's Garrett Stephens throws to first base during a game earlier this season.

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — The Fort Hays State baseball team completed the weekend sweep of Missouri Western with a 12-2 win in the finale on Saturday. The Tigers fought back to tie things up at 2-2 in the fifth before erupting for 10 runs over the final two innings to seal the victory. Fort Hays State is now 5-20 on the season and 5-16 in MIAA play, while the Griffons dip to 8-19 overall and 6-15 in league action.

After starter Hunter Parker worked around a pair of hits in the bottom of the first, the Tigers jumped in front after opening the second with three-consecutive hits. Grant Schmidt led off with a double before Garrett Stephens moved him up with a single to right. Jacob Pryor followed with a single through the hole at second, driving in the first run of the game.

The Griffons threatened again in the second, but Parker got out of the jam with a flyout and a strikeout. Missouri Western finally got on the board with three singles and a walk in the third, but Parker managed to limit the damage to one run after he posted three-straight strikeouts to get out of the frame. The home team took their first lead of the day in the home half of the fourth with a leadoff home run.

The Tigers tied things up in the fifth after Ed Scott led off with a single and moved up 90 feet on an error by the left fielder. Scott advanced to third on a single from Griffin Brunson before coming around to score on a bunt single from Drake Angeron, knotting things up at 2-2.

Parker made quick work of the Griffons the rest of the way, retiring the side in order in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The redshirt-junior retired the final 13 batters he faced, giving the Tiger offense a great opportunity to make something happen.

After leaving two runners on in the seventh, the bats came through in the eighth with a big fly from Schmidt. The outfielder crushed his team-leading sixth home run sailing over the fence in center, driving in Jacob Bouzide and giving the Tigers a 4-2 advantage.

The offense was not done yet, however, as the Tigers blew the game wide open with a huge two-out rally that yielded eight runs on seven hits. Traelon Yarbrough led off the ninth with a single before Scott laid down a sacrifice bunt. A strikeout created the second out of the inning before Angeron drew an intentional walk. Bouzide was hit by a pitch in the ensuing plate appearance, loading the bases for Kade Wallace.

The first baseman came through with a single to center, plating a pair and doubling the Tiger lead. Schmidt and Stephens kept things rolling with back-to-back RBI doubles before Pryor drove one in with a single to center. Yarbrough followed with his second hit of the inning before Scott sent a double to left center, driving in a pair and stretching the Tiger lead to double figures, 12-2.

Jacob Ensz came on to pitch the ninth inning, giving up one hit while striking out one batter to seal the victory.

Parker (1-2) tossed 8.0 innings, giving up just two runs on eight hits and one walk while striking out 10 batters.

Schmidt was 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs, while Stephens finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and one run. All nine Tigers in the starting lineup collected at least one hit, with five individuals collecting multiple base knocks in the win.

Fort Hays State will return to Larks Park for a pair of home series over the next two weeks, starting with a three-game set against Northwest Missouri State April 16-17. The Tigers and Bearcats will battle in a single game Friday evening beginning at 5 p.m. before facing off in a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.