FHSU Sports Information Department
HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State Softball had a great start to MIAA play on Friday (Mar. 10) when it swept a doubleheader at home against Northeastern State. The Tigers improved to 8-12 overall, 2-0 in the MIAA, with wins by scores of 10-2 and 6-4. NSU dropped to 9-12 overall and 2-2 in conference play.
Game 1: Fort Hays State 10, Northeastern State 2
Northeastern State briefly held a 1-0 lead after a half inning, but Fort Hays State took control the rest of the way and won by run rule in the sixth inning. Bailey Boxberger started the offensive onslaught for the Tigers by hitting a missile through the teeth of a chilly wind for a two-run home run in the bottom of the first to put the Tigers up 2-1.
A dropped fly ball off the bat of Kylie Strand in the second started another two-run rally. Jeni Mohr knocked Strand in on a RBI single and then Lily Sale had an RBI double to make it 4-1.
The RiverHawks benefitted from two Tiger errors in the fourth to cut the lead in half at 4-2, but the Tigers pulled away with three runs in both the fifth and sixth inning to invoke the run rule. In the fifth, Candace Bollig had a RBI double and Mohr had another RBI single. The Tigers also scored a run on a bobble by the shortstop on a ball put in play by Strand. With the bases loaded in the sixth, Bollig walked to get a run home, Tess Gray knocked in a run with a single, and Strand ended the game with a fielder’s choice hit out to the shortstop that scored another run from third.
After allowing a run and three hits in the first, Carrie Clarke settled in for the remainder of the game to improve to 3-2 on the season. She allowed just three hits over her final five innings of work and allowed just one earned run overall. Mollie Carter of NSU fell to 1-1 on the season allowing seven runs (three earned) on nine hits over 5.0 innings of work.
Game 2: Fort Hays State 6, Northeastern State 4
Both teams struggled to find many hits through the first three innings, but the Tigers broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the fourth and four in the fifth to build a 6-1 lead. NSU scored three runs in the seventh, but FHSU held on 6-4 for the doubleheader sweep.
Like game one, the Tigers fell behind 1-0 before tying up the game in the third on an awkward defensive play. Bailey Kennedy stole second base, but the catcher’s throw was low and dug out by the shortstop. But Kennedy collided with the fielder trying to block the base and in the midst of the collision, Jeni Mohr took home on the catcher’s choice to throw down to second.
In the fourth, Tess Gray provided a line-shot solo home run over the left-field wall to push the Tigers in front 2-1. Mohr led off the fifth with a single and then a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Kennedy had the Tigers in business with runners at the corners. Sale came up with a bunt single that scored Mohr, then Veronica Knittig smacked a RBI double down the right-field line to make it 4-1. Bailey Boxberger and Candace Bollig provided back-to-back sacrifice flies to push the lead to 6-1.
The RiverHawks did not go quietly as they strung together two singles, a double, and a triple in the seventh to cut the lead down to two, but a groundout and flyout ended the game.
Hailey Chapman went the distance for the Tigers in the circle, allowing four runs on seven hits and five walks with seven strikeouts. She is now 5-7 on the season. Jennifer Wolf fell to 1-4 on the season for NSU, allowing six runs (three earned) in 5.1 innings of work.
The Tigers return to the diamond on Saturday (Mar. 11) when they host No. 9 ranked Central Oklahoma in another conference doubleheader.