KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Despite getting 12 hits and stranding nine batters the Missouri Western baseball team could only manage two runs falling 3-2 in an elimination game against Fort Hays State. Western had five players with two or more hits as fall to 34-17 on the season.
Just like the first two games of the tournament the Griffons played from behind and made too many errors to come from behind.
The Tigers scored one run in the second inning on three hits and two Griffon errors. JC Ochoa scored on a throwing error by Michael Schulze trying to turn an inning ending double play for Western. The Tigers left the bases loaded in the inning.
In the top of the third Western responded with three hits which started with a Tony Loeffler single to right center. Loeffler later scored on a Schulze single up the middle. Western stranded runners and second and third in the inning.
Once again the Tigers went up in the bottom of the third with two outs as Brandon Hoefler doubled and scored on a Luke Kordsmeier single to the left side.
Western responded in the top of the fourth when Jimmy Smelcer singled to short stop and advanced to second on a throwing error by Sheldon Howell. David Chew hit a single to the left field scoring Smelcer which tied the score at two after four.
The Tigers got the game winning run in the bottom of the sixth mounting another two out rally. Nash Smith doubled down the left field line and then scoring on a Ryan Busboom single.
Western put runners on base in the seventh and ninth but could not get the big hit. Ethan Ward went eight innings giving up 10 hits and three earned runs while striking out a career best nine. Ward falls to 6-3 with the loss. Schulze went 3-for-5 with an RBI while Jake Graham, Nate Ramler, Smelcer and Loeffler all had two hits.
The Tigers improve to 29-23 on the season and advance to play the 5th ranked Central Missouri Mules in the MIAA Championship game. They will have to beat them twice on Sunday. Smith, Busboom, Hoefler and Kordsmeier all had two hits in the contest. Jesse Hart went 5.2 innings giving up 10 hits and one earned run. Brett Macari picked up his eighth save going one inning.