The Fort Hays State University baseball team doubled their wins on the road as they swept Washburn University on Wednesday.
However, the Tigers (18-14 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association, 26-20 overall) are still a long shot to make the conference tournament.
The top four teams in the MIAA advance to the conference tournament. FHSU is in fifth and is six games behind fourth-place University of Central Missouri (16-8 MIAA, 25-9 overall).
FHSU has struggled on the road so far this season, going 4-16, but against WU (9-15 MIAA, 16-21 overall), the Tigers reversed their fortunes, winning 4-1 and 12-4.
“There have been a variety of reasons for that – bad play, bad breaks and playing good opponents,” head coach Rick Sabath said in his post game interview on Tiger Radio Mix-103. “I wish we had 20 more road games to where we could even things out. Every time I look at our (away) record on our statistics, I just cringe, because it is so bad.”
In game one, senior starting pitcher Eric Gilliland (8-5) allowed only one run on nine hits while junior Mat Atkinson came in during the seventh inning and picked up the save.
In game two, the Tigers had an offensive parade in the second inning, scoring seven runs. Sophomore Kyle Stacken was the big contributor in the second inning, posting a three-RBI double to left center field.
The lead proved to be enough as senior pitcher Kent Williamson (6-2) claimed the win as he surrendered three runs on five hits, while junior Aaron Nuss earned the save, relieving Williamson in the sixth inning.
“I thought the whole key to this afternoon’s performance were our two starting pitchers – Eric Gilliliand and Kent Williamson,” Sabath said. “Both were really, really good.”
Sabath said he thought his team was bound to start picking up wins after their dismal performance on the road earlier in the season.
“The way I have to look at it and our team has to look at it is that we are due to play well on the road just by the law of averages,” Sabath said.
The Tigers have to go on the road once again as they travel to No. 16 University of Nebraska-Omaha (22-6 MIAA, 32-11 overall) for a pair of doubleheaders on Sunday and Monday.
UNO is led by freshman pitcher Joe Holtmeyer and senior Ben Percival.
Holtmeyer has held opponents to a conference-best .171 hitting percentage and struck out a conference-best 12.99 strikeouts per game, while Percival is undefeated on the mound.
“We are definitely going to have our hands full, but I expect us to go in there and really play well,” Sabath of the law of averages, we are due for a couple great performances against a good team.”