Tiger baseball splits on senior day
HAYS, Kan. — The Fort Hays State baseball team wrapped up the 2021 season with a Senior Day split on Saturday (May 8), knocking off Newman 8-3 in the opener before falling 5-3 in extra innings in the series finale.
The Tigers honored eight student-athletes playing in their final game at FHSU before the first pitch, including Jace Armstrong, Ryan Brown, Jacob Ensz, Tyler Olson, Jacob Pryor, Ryan Ruder, Brayden Smith and Garrett Stephens.
Game 1 - Fort Hays State 8, Newman 3
Starting pitcher Hunter Parker gave the Tigers a great chance to take control early in the opener, retiring the first 12 batters he faced. The FHSU offense took advantage, scoring a pair of runs in the second and another in the third to jump in front.
Grant Schmidt led off the second inning with a deep blast to left center, his 11th home run of the season and second of the weekend. Garrett Stephens worked a walk in the next at bat before Jacob Pryor reached on an error. A walk to Ed Scott loaded the bases with no one out for Tyler Olson, who drove in the second run of the game with a grounder to short. The Jets escaped the inning without any further damage with a double play.
After another 1-2-3 inning from Parker in the third, the Tigers put together a two-out rally in the home half of the inning. Kade Wallace kept the inning alive with a single through the right side before Schmidt pulled a double just inside the left-field line, plating Wallace with an RBI double.
The Jets broke through with a pair of runs on a home run in the top of the fifth, but Parker bounced back by retiring the next two batters with just three pitches.
Newman starter Derek Schumann kept things close until two errors in the bottom of the seventh helped the Tigers score five unearned runs. A throwing error put Tigers on second and third before another error brought home a pair of runs. Jacob Bouzide followed with a two-out double to right, driving in Griffin Brunson. Wallace capped off the frame with a two-run blast to left, stretching the Tiger lead to 8-2.
The Jets added one run in the eighth on another home run, but that was the only blemish as Ryan Brown and Brayden Smith each tossed an inning of relief to finish off the win.
Parker (4-3) tossed 7.0 innings in the win, allowing just two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out four Jets. Schmidt was 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run, while Wallace was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs and a pair of RBI.
Game 2 - Newman 5, Fort Hays State 3 (10 innings)
The Tigers twice rallied to tie things up in the series finale, but two unearned runs in the top of the 10th inning helped the Jets steal the win.
Newman took the lead in the top of the first after a one-out walk came around to score two batters later, but the Tigers matched that run with a Garrett Stephens solo shot to left in the home half of the second. FHSU had two more runners on with just one out later in the second, but the Jets escaped with the score still tied at 1-1 thanks to a strikeout and a line out to left.
The Jets went back on top with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings. The Tigers had plenty of chances to answer during the middle innings, but couldn't seem to find the big hit to break through. FHSU had baserunners in all but one inning between the third and eighth innings, including stranding a pair in the third, sixth and seventh frames. The Tigers nearly took the lead in the bottom of the seventh when Grant Schmidt came up with two runners on and two outs, but the redshirt-junior's towering shot to left center was caught by the left fielder with his back against the outfield fence, ending the threat.
After Tiger relievers Cole Zimmerman, Jake Steinbring and Jacob Ensz all tossed 1-2-3 innings down the stretch to keep the game within reach, the Tiger offense finally got on the board again in the bottom of the ninth. A pitch hit Tyler Olson to lead off the inning before Conner Kessler doubled to left center, putting the tying run on second base with no outs. Jacob Bouzide came through with a game-tying double two batters later, sending an 0-2 pitch into the right-field corner to plate Olson and Kessler.
With two runners on and two outs later in the inning, Stephens sent a sharp liner down the third base line, but the Newman third baseman made a diving stop and threw out the catcher just in time to send the game to extra innings.
Ensz came back out to pitch in the 10th and promptly struck out two Jets bookending a single to left. The Tigers thought they were out of the inning with a third strikeout, but the runner managed to reach base on a dropped third strike and a throwing error. The umpires initially called the batter runner out due to being out of the baseline, but another umpire overturned the call. One run came in to score on the error, and another came around to score on a single to right.
Just after the second Jet run crossed the plate, umpires directed both teams to their dugouts due to lightning in the vicinity. After a one hour, 12 minute delay, Ryan Ruder came on to get the final out of the inning on just one pitch.
The Tigers had a pair of baserunners in the home half of the 10th after Ed Scott worked a walk and Olson pulled a single to left, putting the tying run on first with just one out. But Newman got out of the inning with a flyout and a pop up, securing the doubleheader split.
Padraic Walsh put together another effective start for the Tigers, striking out eight batters over 6.0 innings while allowing three runs (two earned) on just six hits and one walk. Steinbring struck out two of the three batters he faced, while Ensz punched out four batters in his 1.2 innings of relief.
Stephens finished the game 2-for-4 with one run and one RBI, with Kade Wallace also collecting a pair of hits and finishing 2-for-4.