HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State dropped the series finale to Central Missouri on Sunday (Feb. 28) by the score of 16-12 and now sits at 7-7 overall and 1-2 in the MIAA this season. The Mules took the series 2-1 and improve to 3-6 overall and 2-1 in the MIAA.
Central Missouri started the scoring early with two runs in the top of the first. Caleb Cherryholmes got the Tigers on the board in the bottom half when he hit a solo homer.
The Mules pushed their lead back to two with solo home run from Miles Orscheln in the second, but the Tigers tied it 3-3 in the bottom half when Clayton Basgall singled to right and plated Alex Weiss and Alex King.
Fort Hays State took its first lead of the afternoon in the third, 5-3, on back-to-back singles from Weiss and King that scored Cherryholmes and Joe Mapes.
In the fourth, the Tigers extended their lead on a solo homer from Basgall, then Mapes plated Cherryholmes with a RBI single to center making it 7-3.
The Mules fought back in the fifth and sixth with consecutive three run innings. With one out in the fifth, Matt Elliot singled to left field and later scored on a single by Jake Alexander. Later in the inning Bennett Oliver cut the Tiger lead to 7-6 when he hit a two run home run, then the Mules took the lead 9-7 in the sixth with a three run shot from Elliot.
The Tigers fought back and were on the brink of victory when Connor Ross hit a three run homer in the eighth, pushing the Tigers back in front 10-9.
The Tigers needed just three outs to seal the deal entering the ninth up one. But Central Missouri had other plans as they rallied for seven runs on five hits (a single, two doubles, and two home runs), a walk, and a Tiger error. The Mules led 16-10 heading to the final half inning.
The Tigers put up a fight in the ninth as they were able to score two runs and load the bases to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. However, Central Missouri’s Reece Ponak got the final two outs by strikeout to end the game.
Justin Hersch went 4.1 innings to start the game for the Tigers but had to leave due to injury, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits, with three strikeouts and a walk.
Logan Herd took the loss and moved to 0-2 on the year lasting 1.2 innings with six runs (five earned) allowed. Ponak recorded the win for the Mules and is now 2-0.
Next up for the Tigers is another three-game MIAA series against Central Oklahoma, March 4-6, in Hays, Kan.