OKLAHOMA CITY - Fort Hays State softball split a pair of games at the Edmond Regional Festival on Sunday (Feb. 21). The Tigers fell 3-2 in eight innings to East Central in their first game, but bounced back for a 3-2 win over Southern Nazarene in the nightcap.
East Central 3, Fort Hays State 2
Fort Hays State dropped its first contest of the day in eight innings to East Central University. The Tigers fell down 2-0 after an inning, pulled within one in the second inning, and then finally tied the game in the top of the seventh. However, FHSU was not able to take advantage of a golden opportunity to plate more runs in the seventh, which left the door open for a walk off win by East Central an inning later.
East Central plated a pair of runs in the first inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Miranda Garza and Rachelle Mengwasser. Loren Beggs instantly cut the ECU lead in half with a solo home run to lead off the second inning. That accounted for all the scoring by both teams through six innings.
East Central starting pitcher Taia Harris held FHSU to the single run through six innings, but handed the ball to Lauren Herrneckar at the start of the seventh inning. Beggs and Betsy Parmley drew back-to-back walks to open the inning and then moved up to second and third with no outs on a wild pitch. A pop up for the first out left both runners stationary.
Terran Caldwell plated the tying run with a bunt back to Herrneckar. Her throw home and tag by the catcher was too late as Beggs used a crafty slide to cross the plate in time. Caldwell then swiped second to give the Tigers runners at second and third again with one out. The Tigers would load the bases, but a pair of strikeouts ended their threat. The Tigers avoided an East Central walk off in the seventh by cutting down the winning run at the plate on an infield grounder.
The Tigers were unable to plate a run in the top of the eighth and looked poised to get the game to the ninth. However, with two outs and a runner on second base, Jayna Reid popped a ball up over the head of FHSU pitcher Michaelanne Nelson and it fell perfectly out of the reach of a diving Lily Sale. On the dive, Sale's glove redirected the ball toward first base, which gave the winning run time to come around and score from second.
Nelson took the tough-luck loss in the pitching circle. She pitched 4.2 innings in relief of Hailey Chapman, giving up a run on three hits and a walk, while striking out eight. Chapman pitched the first 3.0 innings of the game, allowing two runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out two. Beggs scored both FHSU runs in the game and her homer was one of only three hits by the Tigers.
Herrneckar picked up the win in relief for East Central, allowing a run without a hit, but walked two. She struck out four.
Fort Hays State 3, Southern Nazarene 2
Fort Hays State took an early 1-0 lead on a muffed throw by the Southern Nazarene first baseman in the first inning that allowed Kristen Reed to come around to score from second on what should have been the third out of the inning. Reed had just reached base by a double.
The Crimson Storm countered with two runs in the bottom of the first, also benefitting from a muffed throw. The batter that reached by error came around to score on an RBI double by Mahina Sauer. Caitlyn Curlee followed Sauer with an RBI single.
From that point, FHSU pitcher Michaelanne Nelson settled in and allowed only three hits the rest of the way. The Tigers picked her up with a pair of runs in the top of the third when Grace Philop delivered an RBI single to tie the game, then Betsy Parmley hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run. That would be enough for Nelson, who went on to toss a complete game with four strikeouts. She allowed just one earned run on five hits and two walks to pick up her first win of the season.
Chelsea Vandiver took the loss for Southern Nazarene, allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits and a walk in just 2.0 innings of work. She faced four batters in the third and did not record an out before handing the ball to Hannah Sattler, who threw the next 4.1 innings in relief. Brooklyn Sparkman picked up the final two outs for SNU in the circle.
Philop and Loren Beggs produced half of the FHSU hits in the game, both with three knocks. Both had a double and a pair of singles. Reed scored two of the three Tiger runs.
Now 2-4 overall on the season, the Tigers return to action on Monday morning at the Bouse Sports Complex in Choctaw, Okla. They take on Oklahoma Baptist at 10 am. Later at 3 pm, the Tigers will play at No. 12 ranked Oklahoma Christian in Oklahoma City to wrap up their four-game trip to the Sooner State.