The Fort Hays State University baseball team swept a pair of games against Wayne State College last weekend at Larks Park.
The Tigers hosted the Wildcats on Saturday and Sunday and, with the pair of wins, moved to 25-19 on the season with a 19-16 conference record.
Saturday started with a rough first inning for the Tigers, who were able to walk away unscathed after allowing the bases to be loaded early in the first inning.
The Tigers got the bats going in the second inning with a JC Ochoa, senior, single. Senior Brandon Hoefler followed with a double down the right-field line, moving Ochoa to third.
The Tigers were then able to capitalize on having runners in scoring position when senior Luke Kordsmeier’s sacrifice fly scored Ochoa, followed by junior Jay Sanders’ single that scored Hoefler. That left the score 2-0 after two innings, the Tigers on top.
The Tigers added another pair of runs in the third inning when junior Ryan Busboom knocked in Smith with a single to right-center field. Busboom was able to score on an RBI single from Hoefler later in the inning. After three innings, the Tigers were on top, 4-0.
The Wildcats answered back in the top of the fourth inning with two runs of their own on three hits, leaving it 4-2 Tigers.
The game then remained scoreless until the top of the seventh when Wayne State was able to pull within one on a double to center field.
With the score 4-3, Sanders was able to put his fourth pitch over the left-field fence, giving the Tigers a 5-3 advantage going into the ninth.
Senior Brett Macari then came in to close out the game; he retired the first three batters on only eight pitches, capping game one at 5-3 in favor of the Tigers.
Macari was able to post his seventh save of the season with his closing performance. Senior Shawn Lewick got the win for the Tigers, moving him to 6-3 on the season. He finished the day, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
Sanders went three for three on the day with two RBIs, including his one run homerun in the eighth.
The Tigers jumped on top of the Wildcats early after pitcher senior Andy Lewton sat down the first three Wayne State batters.
Base running provided an immediate edge for the Tigers, who stole without hesitation on the Wildcat’s catcher, putting runners in scoring position early.
With both senior Nash Smith and Howell stealing second, the Tigers had runners on second and third before senior Mace Krol’s hit to the pitcher scored Smith from third.
Howell was then batted in by Ochoa’s single to left field. Ochoa was then able to score second and third before the inning came to a close at 2-0, Tigers on top.
The Wildcats added two runs, one in the second and another in the fourth before the Tigers put together a rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
With the bases loaded and one out, the Wildcats chose to replace their pitcher, which proved disastrous for the Wildcats.
After walking in a run, the Tigers’ bats started to heat up, scoring five runs on three hits. Hoefler hit a run-scoring single to move the runners and score Busboom. Sanders followed with a sacrifice fly, scoring Krol. A pair of singles from senior Anthony Silinas and junior Chris Santoscoy scored Ochoa and Hoefler. The Tigers finished the inning with five runs on five hits, leading 7-2.
The next two innings were scoreless for both teams, leaving the game at 7-2.
Smith went three-for-five at the plate and scored two of the Tigers’ seven runs.
Junior Jesse Hart got the win for the Tigers, putting him at 4-1 on the season. He finished with two strikeouts and no runs on two hits in his five innings on the mound.
The Tigers, who claim the No. 4 in the MIAA, will finish the regular season at home with a four-game series against Missouri Western on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Griffons sit at No. 2 in the MIAA.