FHSU Sports Information Department

HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State dropped the first game of a three-game weekend series on Friday (Mar. 17) to 15th-ranked Emporia State by a score of 15-1. The run-rule ended the game after the eighth inning. ESU improved to 17-4 overall, 6-1 in the MIAA, while FHSU went to 7-15 overall, 1-9 in the MIAA.

Tiger starting pitcher Ben Ramberg fought control issues throughout the game and managed to escape the first two innings unharmed after walking four batters in that span. However, he could not avoid damage in the third as two more walks led to three runs in the inning. The Tigers looked as though they were going to allow just one run in the inning, but a throwing error by catcher Trevor Hughes after a swinging strike in the dirt led to two unearned runs. ESU led 3-0 after three innings.

Ramberg ran out of gas in the fifth due to a high pitch count. BJ Dean hit a two-run homer for ESU to make it 5-1 and then a single chased Ramberg from the hill and the Tigers went on to use five relievers in the game. Ramberg’s final line had six runs allowed (four earned) on five hits and seven walks. But, he was effectively wild in the game and struck out six. The Hornets went on to score six runs in the fifth to take a commanding 9-1 lead. They tacked on a run in the seventh and then five in the eighth to make the final margin of 14 runs.

Fort Hays State’s only run came in the fourth on a balk with runners at first and third. Clayton Basgall came in to score on the pitcher’s mistake.

Seth Holman threw six strong innings for ESU, allowing one run on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. He is now 5-1 on the season.

The Tigers and Hornets meet in the second game of the series on Saturday at 1 pm.

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