The Fort Hays State University women’s softball team finished out its regular season this weekend with a pair of double headers at home.
The lady Tigers swept Pittsburg State on Saturday and followed that with a sweep of Missouri Southern on Sunday.
Pittsburg State came in with the No. 3 seed in the MIAA, with the Tigers being one game back, in the fourth spot.
With the MIAA tournament quickly approaching, the Tigers needed to sweep the Gorillas in order to have a chance at the No. 3 seed.
The Tigers’ potent offense, combined with a strong showing by junior pitcher, Maddie Holub, propelled the Tigers to a victory over the Gorillas in the first game.
Holub tied her own school record with 16 strikeouts and allowed only one run on five hits. The Tigers got on the board early, with freshman Madison Putman’s RBI single bringing in freshman Amanda Vaupel in the second inning.
The only Gorilla run came in the fifth off a double to left field, which tied the game at 1-1. Holub also added a one-run shot over the right-field fence in the fifth.
Two Gorilla errors in the fifth also allowed Nelson and senior Adriana Wortley to score, giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead after five innings.
Senor Taylor Nelson added a solo homerun in the sixth for the final score of the game, leaving the Tigers on top 5-1 in the first game.
Game two of Saturday’s double-header showcased the Tigers’ ability to rally late, when a pair of late homeruns sealed the sweep of the Gorillas.
Nelson scored the first run of the game on a Wortley sacrifice fly in the first inning. Nelson then drove in two runs on a triple in the second to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead after two innings.
The fourth and fifth innings belonged to the Gorillas, as they scored two runs in each inning on five hits to take a 4-3 advantage over the Tigers before Vaupel’s sacrifice fly gave Holub a chance to even the score at 4-4 after five innings.
After another Gorilla run in the sixth, the Tigers headed into the bottom of the seventh down 5-4. The first two Tiger batters were retired, and with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, down one, it was the batting of two underclassmen that would prove most deadly for the Gorillas.
On her second pitch, Vaupel homered over the left-field fence, tying the game at 5-5. Junior Chelsey Rottinghaus took her shot on the second pitch as well, hitting the ball right down the middle for a single.
With the winning run on first, sophomore Kellsi Olsen didn’t waste any time, taking her first pitch for a walk-off, two-run homerun. The Tigers scored three runs in the seventh with two outs, capping a 7-5 victory over the Gorillas.
Senior Taylor Nelson, who went five-for-seven and hit for the cycle in the two-game series, led the high-powered offense. She scored three times in the two games, with three RBIs. Nelson accounted for five of the 12 total runs scored in the double header.
The two losses dropped the Gorillas down to the No. 6 spot in the MIAA, which means the two teams will face each other come tournament time on Thursday.
Holub was the story yet again in the first game of Sunday’s matchup, as she threw a one-hit game in the win over Missouri Southern. The one hit came early in the sixth, extinguishing all hopes of a no-hitter, although Holub allowed only two Lions to reach first base all game. She ended the game with one hit and only one walk. After the walk in the second, Holub retired the next seven batters with strikeouts.
Wortley scored the Tigers’ only run in the bottom of the second on a wild pitch that got by the catcher. She finished the first game three-of-three at the plate, which accounted for three of the five hits the Tigers posted in the first game.
The Tigers had plenty of opportunities to score, leaving six runners stranded on base over the course of the game. Sophomore Callie Wright and Putman added the other two hits, both adding singles in the fifth; however, the Tigers were unable to capitalize on having runners in scoring position.
Holub finished the game in the top of the seventh, striking out the last three Lions’ batters, ending the game after six and a half innings with a score of 1-0, Tigers on top.
In game two of Sunday’s double-header, the Tigers took advantage of their opportunities with runners in scoring position, scoring six runs off of hits.
Nelson added three more RBIs to her stats, as she went two-for-three at the plate. Holub also went two-for-three with two RBIs of her own. Vaupel drove in a run on her double in the first.
The Tigers came out swinging in the second game. Holub knocked in Nelson, who was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the first. Holub was then knocked in by Vaupel, who hit a double to the right-field gap. Tigers led 2-0 until the top of the third inning.
Missouri Southern tied up the game in the top of the third with three hits, including a two-run shot to left field.
The Tigers answered right back in the bottom of the third when Holub hit a homerun down the left-field line to bring her total to seven homeruns on the season and put the Tigers up 3-2.
The Lions would score on a fielder’s choice play in the fourth to even the score at 3-3. The fourth inning saw three hits for the Tigers and four runs before the Lions changed pitchers. The Tigers had a solid inning, batting through the lineup, but again left three runners stranded and ended the inning at 7-3.
Nelson knocked in Olsen with a single in the fifth, the final run of the game, giving the Tigers an 8-3 victory.
With the four wins last weekend, the Tigers finished the season 29-17 with a 13-7 record in the MIAA. They will hold the No. 3 spot in the MIAA and will face an undoubtedly eager Pittsburg State in the MIAA Tournament on Apr. 26 in Kansas City.