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Late Home Run Lifts No. 15 Hornets Past Tigers 5-4

FHSU Sports Information Department

HAYS, Kan. – Fort Hays State held a 4-2 lead through seven innings, but could not hang on as a two-out, three-run home run in the eighth lifted No. 15 ranked Emporia State past FHSU. The Hornets took the game 5-4, now with wins in the first two games of the weekend series. ESU moved to 18-4 overall, 7-1 in the MIAA, while FHSU went to 7-16 overall, 1-10 in the MIAA.

Ryan Ruder was tremendous in his starting pitching effort against the Hornets. He limited the top hitting team in the MIAA to just two runs over six innings with just five hits allowed. He struck out four and did not allow a walk.

After Ruder had allowed a game-tying solo homer in the sixth, his offense picked him up as Nick Hammeke triggered a two-run bottom half of the inning for FHSU with a leadoff double. A sacrifice bunt moved Hammeke to third, then Dayton Pomeroy drove him home with a sacrifice fly to give the Tigers the lead back at 3-2. Clayton Basgall followed with a single and Trevor Hughes shot a ball to the left-center field gap to score Basgall, putting the Tigers up 4-2.

Sam Capps came on in relief of Ruder to begin the seventh. He worked around a walk in the seventh to escape damage, but the big blow of the game came in the eighth. With two on and two outs, Daniel LaMunyon drove a pitch from Capps over the left field wall and instantly vaulted the Hornets into the lead 5-4.

Taylor Thompson, who entered in relief for the Hornets to end the Tiger rally in the sixth, pitched two scoreless innings to set up a save opportunity for Nathan Whitcomb. Though he allowed two hits, Whitcomb recorded his fifth save of the season, while striking out two. Thompson moved to 3-0 on the season.

Capps took the loss in three innings of relief for FHSU. He allowed four hits and a walk, while striking out four. He moved to 1-2 on the year.

Emporia State never led in the game until the LaMunyon homer in the eighth. FHSU held a 2-0 lead after a pair of runs in the second on a wild pitch and Marcus Altman RBI single. ESU cut the lead in half with a run in the fourth before tying it with the solo homer in the sixth.

The teams play the final game of the three-game weekend series on Sunday at 12 pm.

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