The Fort Hays State University baseball team faced Bethany College in a nine-inning game at Larks Park Tuesday evening. The non-conference matchup was a back-and-forth battle between the Tigers and Swedes, with the Tigers coming out victorious in a 17-13 win.
Bethany started the first inning with two runs, but Fort Hays scored two of its own with a home run by junior Ryan Busboom. Bethany went into the second inning and made three runs. Once again, the Tigers came back with three more runs.
Fort Hays took the lead in the third inning, but Bethany tied it up in the fourth. Again, the Tigers scored a run to get ahead in the fifth, but the Swedes managed to even the score in the sixth inning. The Tigers went to bat in the sixth inning and scored two more runs, hoping that would do the trick. The runs came from senior Nash Smith’s home run.
The Swedes retaliated in the seventh inning, scoring six runs to make the score 13-9. Fort Hays scored another run in the seventh to keep the score close. A sacrifice fly from senior Mace Krol and a single by senior Brandon Hoefler put the Tigers one run away from reclaiming the lead.
The final inning for the Tigers could not have ended any better. The bases were loaded with Busboom at the plate. Down in the count 1-2, Busboom hit the ball over the wall in left field for a walk-off grand slam. Busboom recorded three home runs in the night alone. The grand slam ended the game with a score of 17-13.
Last Friday and Saturday, the Tigers traveled to Boliver, Mo., to win a conference series against Southwest Baptist University. Fort Hays picked up two wins on Friday to set the tone for the weekend. Saturday’s first game resulted in a loss for the Tigers, but they bounced back to beat the Bearcats in the second game with the largest deficit of the series.
The first score of the series came in the fourth inning by the Tigers. Busboom doubled to left field and scored on senior Mace Krol’s single. The bases were loaded with junior Chris Santoscoy at the plate, but a fly out to left field ended the inning.
Fort Hays scored three more runs in the fifth inning to extend the lead. After singles from seniors Sheldon Howell and JC Ochoa and a walk to Busboom, the bases were loaded early in the inning. Krol struck out, but Hoefler singled to hit in Howell and Ochoa.
A walk by senior Luke Kordsmeier loaded up the bases. Next to draw a walk was junior Jay Sanders, who recorded an RBI as Busboom scored. Southwest Baptist made a pitching change, and Santoscoy flew out to end the inning, leaving three men on again.
Southwest Baptist’s only run came from the fifth inning. Neither team scored the rest of the game, leaving the final score 4-1.
Senior Shawn Lewick got the win, allowing only one run off six hits. Lewick struck out six and walked one. His record improved to 5-3. Senior Brett Macari earned the save after coming in and recording the last two outs of the game. He quickly finished it up by turning a double play.
Fort Hays came out on top with a final score of 5-3 in the second game, even though Southwest Baptist outhit the Tigers 12-11.
Getting an early lead, the Tigers scored two runs in the first inning with a walk and a few singles. Two doubles in the third inning by Howell and Krol gave Fort Hays another run. Southwest Baptist scored one run in the third and came back to tie the game at 3-3 in the fourth inning.
The Tigers took the lead back in the eighth inning after a Krol’s single knocked in Busboom, who got on base with a double. Hoefler hit a double of his own to score Krol.
The two runs were enough to keep the Tigers ahead of the game, which ended with a score of 5-3.
Throwing eight innings, junior Alex Ellison picked up the win with three strikeouts. Macari made his second appearance of the day. He gave up only one hit and recorded another save. Macari was named MIAA Baseball Student-Athlete of the Week, earning Pitcher of the Week honors. Krol was also given the award, earning Hitter of the Week honors.
Junior Jesse Hart took his first loss on Saturday, giving up six runs off nine hits in 4.1 innings. Freshman Nathan Zimmerman took over to finish the fifth inning and struck out one. In the sixth inning, senior Casey Pierce went in to try stopping Southwest Baptist. He retired the first two batters and then gave up a single and a walk before getting the third out.
The Tigers showed a small comeback as they scored a run in the seventh inning, but still came up short. The final score was 3-6.
After losing the first game, the Tigers came back to tear up the second game. Bats were rolling for Fort Hays, recording 16 hits in the game.
The Tigers scored two runs in the third inning and waited until the seventh to score again. Santoscoy started the seventh inning with a double to center field. Smith stepped up to the plate and hit a two-run home run. Howell doubled to left center before Southwest Baptist made a pitching change. Krol singled to center and brought in Howell. A single from Hoefler scored Ochoa, who reached on a walk. With the bases loaded, Macari was hit by the pitch and helped Busboom cross home plate.
In the eighth inning, Busboom hit a single to score two runs. He scored along with Krol off Hoefler’s single to right field.
The Bearcats scored two runs in the ninth inning, but could not catch up to the Tigers. The final score was 11-4.
Senior Andy Lewton pitched six innings to get the win. He gave up two walks off four hits, walked four and struck out six. Junior Kyle Leroy came in for the seventh inning and finished the game. Leroy gave up two more runs off five hits and struck out three.
The Tigers will face Wayne State College this Saturday and Sunday at Larks Park. The game on Saturday will start at 6 p.m., and Sunday’s game will begin at 1 p.m.