The baseball team travelled to Hays to battle the Tigers over the weekend.
The team started off with a double header on Saturday, Feb. 27 and won both games (9-1, 6-0). The Tigers came back on Sunday, Feb. 28 and took the last game (11-10).
Head Coach Bob Fornelli hoped to sweep the series.
“I thought we played pretty well for the most part,” Fornelli said. “On Sunday, we just couldn’t get over the hump. Every time we scored, they scored. So, we had to battle to try to get back in it, but I think anytime you go in the road and win two out of three in our conference, that’s a good deal but we’re also disappointed we didn’t sweep.”
The loss against Fort Hays snapped the teams five-game winning streak.
“Obviously on Sunday we were looking to sweep and unfortunately came up short,” said Ryan Koval, junior in criminal justice. “But overall, with how the wind was on Saturday, it was blowing in, I think our pitchers did a really good of attacking their hitters and forcing them to make contact… (On) Sunday, we didn’t play quite how we wanted to but overall, we played well at certain times…”
Dawson Pomeroy, junior in sports management, is taking the weekend as a learning experience, specifically the last game of the series.
“…I think we played okay,” Pomeroy said. “I think our pitching staff did really well the first day in the double header, really controlled the tempo, really pitched to the weather. The wind was blowing in so we could kind of get away with mistakes that day on the mound… Offensively, we kind of struggled at the beginning of the first game but turned it on late, kind of added some pressure onto Fort Hays and then the second game we got off to a really hot start and then kind of slowed down but, towards the end of the game, found our groove again. Yesterday (Sunday, Feb. 28), we played okay, not really to the best of our abilities. Kind of let the game slip away… Just all around offensively, we weren’t great at the plate… Other than that, I think it was a weekend where we can learn a lot. I think it’s something… we can build off of and hopefully grow moving forward.”
In game one, Pomeroy scored the go-ahead run in the seventh. Mason Hartman added three runs and Cruz Aranda went one-for-four with two runs and two RBIs. David Henderson held Fort Hays to three hits in six innings, only allowing one run and recording five strikeouts.
In game two, Peyton Ingalls and Chandler Mauldin combined on a five-hit shutout. Ingalls allowed three hits and registered six strikeouts in six innings while Mauldin allowed two hits and registered three strikeouts. Koval went three-for-four at the plate and Caleb Carr went two-for-four. Pomeroy and Aaron Gerdes added two hits apiece.
“I think the pitching staff the first day was really good,” Fornelli said. “They threw strikes and came up one run in 18 innings the first day. So, anytime you can do that you have a good chance to win. Dave Henderson and Peyton Ingalls really threw the ball well.”
In game three, Pomeroy, Aranda, Ty Henry, and Garret McGowan made home runs. Aranda went two-for-four with two runs and three RBIs and Carr went three-for-six with two RBIs.
“I think Caleb Carr and Ryan Koval really found their grooves at the plate,” Pomeroy said. “Cruz Aranda played really well. I think Peyton Ingalls and Dave Henderson threw really well on the mound for us. I would say probably those five guys… were really the guys that stood out to me with who did the best over the whole weekend.”
Some players stood out to Koval as well.
“I thought Peyton Ingalls threw really well,” Koval said. “…On Sunday, Caleb Carr had a really good game hitting wise. I felt like Dawson Pomeroy behind me had a really good weekend at the plate… So, definitely some positives for sure.”
The Gorillas will host Northeastern State this weekend. Game one is on Friday, March 5 at 2 p.m. The last two games of the series are on Saturday, March 6 at 1 p.m. and again at 4 p.m. All three games will take place at Al Ortolani Field.
“(I want to see the team) just continue to improve,” Fornelli said. “We’ve played six games and we got to get better every day and every weekend’s a challenge.”