Tiger softball swept by UCO
EDMOND, Okla. – Fort Hays State softball had its hopes of hosting a home series in the MIAA Tournament dashed on Saturday in a pair of losses to No. 13 ranked Central Oklahoma. The Tigers fell by scores of 5-3 and 8-1 and slipped to fifth place in the MIAA standings at the close of the regular season, seeing Rogers State charge past for fourth place on Saturday with a sweep of Washburn.
With the wins, Central Oklahoma captured at least a share of the MIAA regular season championship as Central Missouri still has a makeup doubleheader to play at Washburn on Monday. The official announcement of the MIAA Tournament bracket will be made on Monday following that doubleheader. Barring any unforeseen circumstances or announcements, the Tigers will most likely be the No. 5 seed in the MIAA Tournament and will travel to Rogers State for the 3-game opening round series, May 7-8.
Rogers State went on a six-game win streak at the end of the season to jump past the Tigers in the standings, sweeping its final three doubleheaders to finish 18-8 in the MIAA. The Tigers finished 17-9 in conference play, sweeping two of their final three doubleheaders. Fort Hays State was the last team to defeat Rogers State as the teams split a doubleheader in Hays back on April 23.
Game 1: Central Oklahoma 5, Fort Hays State 3
The Bronchos scored in each of the first four innings and held on to take game one. The Bronchos jumped out to a 3-0 lead, saw it shrink to 3-2, but eventually led by three again and the Tigers could only counter with one more run.
Central Oklahoma picked up the game's first run in the first inning on a Tiger error that would have been the end of the inning. The Bronchos extended their lead in the second with their first hit of the game, a two-run home run by Allie Eicher.
The Tigers instantly jumped back to within a run of the Bronchos in the third inning when Sara Breckbill drove the ball over the wall in left field for her second homer of the season, a two-run shot.
Central Oklahoma picked up another run in the third when Hazel Puempel tripled and came home on a sacrifice fly by Shayla Harper. The Bronchos manufactured their final run of the contest in the fourth with a walk and a couple of singles as Tarin Dubler drove in a run. That was the end of the road for Michaelanne Nelson, who allowed four earned runs on four hits and three walks. Megan Jamison took over in the circle from that point and she gave the Tigers another strong relief effort. She kept the Bronchos scoreless and scattered three hits the rest of the way.
Loren Beggs, who was the only Tiger with multiple hits in the game, tripled to open the fifth inning. Breckbill brought Beggs home with a groundout as she drove home all three runs for FHSU in the game.
The Tigers could not find a rally in the sixth or seventh, retired in order both innings. Kylee Lynch pitched a complete game for the Bronchos, allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts. The loss mathematically eliminated the Tigers from any hope of a conference regular season title.
Game 2: Central Oklahoma 8, Fort Hays State 1
The Bronchos jumped out to a 3-0 lead early and pulled away late for the doubleheader sweep. Back-to-back home runs by Jacee Minter (2-run) and Hazel Puempel (solo) put UCO on top 3-0 after one inning.
Though they put a solid swing on the ball several times, the Tigers were unable to find many holes against Corinna Rivas, who threw a complete game in the circle for the Bronchos. The Tigers produced two of their three hits in the game in the third inning to plate their only run. Sarah Tiffany doubled and then later came in to score on a Lily Sale RBI single. Tiffany had two of the three hits for the Tigers. Rivas finished with one strikeout and two walks allowed.
The Bronchos extended their lead in the fourth inning after an error helped plate a pair of runs. In the sixth, Puempel doubled home a run and Shayla Harper followed with a two-run wall-scraping homer just inside the left foul pole, making it 8-1.
Hailey Chapman threw a complete game for the Tigers, allowing 12 hits and two walks. She struck out one batter.