FHSU baseball rallies past Jets

FHSU Sports Information

HAYS, Kan. - The Fort Hays State baseball team rallied from a 4-0 deficit to defeat the Newman Jets on Friday (May 7) by a final score of 5-4. Grant Schmidt rattled off four extra-base hits in the victory, including two triples and one home run while scoring three of FHSU's runs.

The Tigers (10-25, 10-21 MIAA) had a few good chances to score in the home half of the first before recording a pair of outs on the base paths, letting the Jets out of a jam. Ryan Boaz, Newman's starter, settled in after that, allowing just one baserunner over the second and third innings.

After facing the minimum thanks to a pickoff and a double play in the first and second innings, Jake Campbell surrendered a pair of base knocks in the third, allowing Newman (8-22, 7-21 MIAA) to take a 1-0 lead on an RBI double. The Jets tacked on three more runs in the fourth on five more hits, stretching the lead to 4-0.

Schmidt helped the Tigers cut into the lead with an opposite-field home run with one out in the fourth inning, sending the first pitch he saw sailing over the fence in right for his 10th long ball of the season. Newman nearly responded in the top of the fifth, but Campbell got out of the jam thanks to a baserunning miscue and a groundout for the third out of the inning.

Fort Hays State couldn't take advantage of a leadoff double from Ed Scott in the fifth, but the Tigers made the most of a one-out triple from Schmidt in the home half of the sixth. The left fielder sprinted home on a sacrifice fly from Garrett Stephens, helping the Tigers close within 4-2.

Ryan Ruder came on in relief of Campbell in the seventh and promptly retired the side in order, including two groundouts and one fly ball. Fort Hays State completed the comeback after the seventh inning stretch, scoring two runs on one hit and two errors to tie things up at 4-4. Conner Kessler reached on a one-out error before Drake Angeron reached on another error. The pair pulled off a double steal with Jacob Bouzide at the plate, closing the gap to 4-3. Bouzide followed with a single to center, plating Angeron and knotting the score at four.

Ruder (1-4) tossed another hitless inning in the eighth, walking one batter before stranding him at first. Schmidt then came through with his fourth base knock of the game, tripling to right field and putting the Tigers in prime position to take the lead. Stephens drew a four-pitch walk in the next at bat before Jacob Pryor plated the go-ahead run when he grounded into a double play.

Jacob Ensz (6) came on to close out the game in the top of the ninth, getting two fly ball outs and one final groundout. Schmidt made a nice running grab on a ball in the gap to record the second out before Kade Wallace made a great scoop at first to record the final out.

Campbell finished with a line of 6.0 innings pitched, four earned runs on nine hits and three walks. Ruder allowed only a walk over 2.0 innings of relief, while Ensz tossed a perfect inning of relief in the ninth. The Jets did not record a hit over the final four innings.

The Tigers will look to finish out the series sweep when FHSU and Newman wrap up the season with a doubleheader beginning at noon on Saturday. Originally slated for 1 p.m., first pitch has been moved up one hour due to potential rain later in the afternoon and evening. Fort Hays State will be honoring eight Tigers playing in their final home games before first pitch, including Jace Armstrong, Ryan Brown, Jacob Ensz, Tyler Olson, Jacob Pryor, Ryan Ruder, Brayden Smith and Garrett Stephens.