Last Wednesday afternoon, the Fort Hays State University baseball team crushed Bethany College in the Tigers’ home opener at Larks Park. Though the game was recently added to the schedule, Fort Hays seem well-prepared and ready to play. The 9-inning game may as well have ended after the fifth inning, with the score at 17-3. Neither team scored following that inning, making that the final score.
The game started with sophomore Nathan Zimmerman (1-0) on the mound. Zimmerman struck out the first batter, giving the Swedes a taste of what they were in for, for the remainder of the game. The next two batters singled, but the next Swede up to bat grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Fort Hays scored two runs in the first inning, giving them the power right away. From there, the Tigers took the lead and ran with it. The first two batters, junior Clayton Garland and senior Sam Thornton reached first on fielding errors. Junior Horace Johnson doubled to right field, bringing in Garland and Thornton for the first two points before getting thrown out at third base.
Zimmerman gave up a solo homerun in the top of the third, but there was no more damage done in the top of the inning. The bottom of the third was a different story. Johnson racked up another RBI with a single to left center, bringing in senior Kelton Rule. Senior Ryan Busboom came in to score after a double from senior Shane Wade. Johnson made his way around the bases with the help of senior Jay Sanders. After the three complete innings, the Tigers held a comfortable lead of 7-2.
The fourth inning was another big one for the Tigers. Bethany only scored one run, though it was unearned. Junior Clayton Garland started things off with a bunt single. He advanced to second on Thornton’s ground out and stole third. Rule singled to score Garland. With Rule on second, Busboom doubled, bringing Rule all the way around to score. Johnson continued his big night with a homerun to left field.
The Tigers hit back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning. Redshirt-junior Nathan Miller homered to right field to score Johnson and Busboom. Wade stepped up for a solo home run to left field. Garland and Thornton had back-to-back singles later in the inning, scoring two more runs.
Fort Hays finished the night outhitting Bethany 23 to 12.