Ryan Prickett, Sports Information Director
HAYS – Fort Hays State slugged its way to a doubleheader sweep of Lincoln on Friday afternoon, winning by scores of 23-5 and 13-5 in run-rule fashion with the wind howling out to centerfield. FHSU improved to 6-18 overall, 2-4 in the MIAA, while Lincoln fell to 3-17 overall, 0-6 in the MIAA.
The 23-5 win by the Tigers in Game 1 was the largest margin of victory in the program’s history, topping a 16-run spread achieved against Adams State in 2004. The Tigers pounded out 40 hits over the doubleheader, 22 in Game 1 and 18 in Game 2.
Game 1: Fort Hays State 23, Lincoln 5
Fort Hays State came up just three runs shy of its single-game record for runs, but posted its largest margin of victory in program history with the spread of 18 runs against Lincoln in a run-rule shortened contest.
A double by Grace Philop and triple by Terran Caldwell set the tone for a seven-run, eight-hit first inning by the Tigers. Caldwell tallied the first RBI of the inning, followed by an RBI single by Bailey Boxberger, RBI double by Veronica Knittig, two-RBI single by Lily Sale, RBI double by Bailey Kennedy, and an RBI single by Philop.
Lincoln put up a single run in the second, but FHSU exploded again for a big offensive inning in the third. The Tigers batted around twice, scoring 14 runs in the inning, and saw their lead grow to 21-1. Kennedy started the scoring parade with an RBI single and another run came around to score on a misplay by the centerfielder. Candace Bollig picked up a sacrifice fly RBI on a dropped fly ball by the outfielder, then the floodgates opened when Boxberger picked up a two-RBI double and Tess Gray hit a two-run home run. That chased Lincoln starter Madison Ragar from the game, who allowed 14 runs (13 earned) in just 2.1 innings of work. Delayne Patton relieved for the Blue Tigers, but did not get help from her defense to end the rally on an error that extended the inning further. Kennedy notched her third RBI of the game with another single, Bollig grabbed an RBI on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, and Boxberger unloaded the bases with a three-RBI double to the gap. Sarah Kay added on a pinch hit RBI single.
Fort Hays State tacked on two more runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Caldwell and RBI double by Bollig. Lincoln scored four runs in the fifth, but it was too little, too late with the run rule coming into effect after five innings.
FHSU starter Hailey Chapman went 4.1 innings to earn the win, moving to 2-10 on the season. She allowed 11 hits and a walk, while striking out five. Four of her five runs allowed were earned. Megan Jamisonrelieved for the final 0.2 innings, getting a grounder and flyout to end the game.
When the dust settled, Bailey Boxberger had a team-best six RBI for the game, more than doubling her total for the season after entering the day with just five. Bollig joined Kennedy for players with three RBI in the game. Caldwell, Gray, and Sale all finished with two RBI. Philop, Caldwell, and Boxberger all crossed the plate three times, while Kennedy joined the trio as players with three hits in the game.
Game 2: Fort Hays State 13, Lincoln 5
Fort Hays State kept its foot on the gas pedal in Game 2, jumping out to a 10-0 lead through two innings. The Tigers scored three in the first and seven in the second, roughing up Lincoln starter Delayne Patton over just 1.2 innings of work.
Sara Breckbill started the scoring in the first inning with a two-RBI single. Bailey Kennedy followed with an RBI single. In the second inning, Lily Sale started the seven-run rally with a double. She came in to score on a Grace Philop RBI single. A train of six straight hits by the Tigers continued with an RBI single by Terran Caldwell, RBI double by Candace Bollig, RBI double by Bailey Boxberger, and RBI single by Breckbill. Sarah Kay put an exclamation point on the inning with a rocket-shot two-run homer to left center.
Sierra Rodriguez cruised through three innings, but ran into trouble in the fourth when she allowed five runs to Lincoln. Megan Jamison came on to get the final out of the inning. With the run-rule shortened game, Rodriguez still captured the win by going at least three innings in the five-inning contest. She allowed five runs on six hits with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. Jamison finished the game, allowing two hits and a walk in 1.1 innings of work, while also striking out three.
Boxberger capped her eight-RBI afternoon between the games with a solo home run to open the bottom of the fourth. Later in the inning, Veronica Knittig picked up a pinch hit RBI single. The Tigers were able to force the run rule in the bottom of the fifth when Kennedy roped an RBI single to right field with the bases loaded. Kennedy finished the afternoon 6-for-7 at the plate. Sale finished the day 4-for-5 at the dish between the two games.
The Tigers will host Lindenwood in another conference doubleheader on Saturday (Mar. 17), starting at 12 pm. Lindenwood dropped a pair of games to Nebraska-Kearney on Friday.