Tiger softball takes two from Lopers

FHSU Sports Information
Fort Hays State coach Adrian Pilkington high-fives Grace Philop during a game at Washburn earlier this season.

Fort Hays State softball moved to 16-14 overall and 9-3 in the MIAA with a sweep of Nebraska-Kearney at Tiger Stadium on Saturday. The Tigers held on for a 4-3 win in game one, then took game two 7-3. The Lopers fell to 10-20 overall and 1-13 in the MIAA.

Game 1: Fort Hays State 4, Nebraska-Kearney 3

The Tigers did all of their offensive damage in the third inning and then held on for the one-run victory. Back-to-back bunt singles by Katie Adler and Lily Sale triggered the Tiger rally and Sara Breckbill plated the game's first run with a two-out RBI single. Loren Beggs immediately followed with her team-leading third home run of the season, a 3-run shot to left center, pushing the lead to 4-0.

The Lopers picked up their first run on a two-out RBI double by Katie Gosker in the fourth inning. Three straight hits to open the fifth inning aided the Lopers in putting a pair of runs on the board, closing the gap to 4-3. Michaelanne Nelson ended the Loper rally by getting a strikeout with the bases loaded.

The Lopers threatened again in the seventh and Nelson was able to dance out of danger, hanging on for the complete-game win. The Lopers got runners to second and third with just one out, but Nelson dialed up a strikeout and a weak ground out to end the game. Nelson moved to 8-7 on the season with the win, allowing nine hits and three walks. She struck out five. Madison Rosenthal took the loss for UNK, throwing 5.1 innings before turning the ball over to Melissa Gellermann for the last two outs of the sixth inning.

Game 2: Fort Hays State 7, Nebraska-Kearney 3

Just like the first game, the Tigers built a comfortable lead only to see it get uncomfortable late in the game. FHSU built a 5-0 lead through three innings, but a UNK 3-run home run in the sixth made things interesting late. However, the Tigers answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to get a cushion again going into the final inning.

Three straight singles by Katie Adler, Lily Sale, and Grace Philop to open the first inning produced the first run for the Tigers. Another single by Loren Beggs plated the second run and Jessica Espinoza brought in a run on a fielder's choice. FHSU led 3-0 after an inning. The Tigers tacked on two more in the third inning on RBI singles from Sarah Tiffany and Terran Caldwell to make it 5-0.

With one swing of the bat in the sixth, Abbie Vodicka put a big dent in the Tiger lead with a three-run homer. UNK eventually got two more runners on base in the inning, but Tiger starter Hailey Chapman worked out of danger by getting a pop up on the infield to end the inning.

The Tigers got two of the three runs back in the bottom of the inning when Espinoza laced an RBI double to the left-center gap, then Tiffany added her second RBI single of the game.

Chapman avoided danger in the seventh and closed out a complete-game effort in the circle. She allowed 10 hits and five walks, while striking out eight.

The Tigers go on the road to Central Missouri on Tuesday (Apr. 13) for a makeup doubleheader that was weathered out earlier in the season. The action begins at 1 pm in Warrensburg, Mo.