Hays, KS - Kevin Czarnecki hit a grandslam to start Fort Hays State's rally from down 5-0 then singled home the winning run in the ninth inning to cap a 6-5 win by the Tigers over Pittsburg State to split a pair of games Saturday (Feb. 22).
The Gorillas (2-4, 1-2 MIAA) jumped out to a 7-2 lead then held on for an 8-7 victory against FHSU (3-3, 2-1 MIAA) in game one.
George Brandecker scattered three hits in five-plus innings of work in the nightcap, before being lifted from the game with the bases full of Tigers after falling into trouble with a one-out base hit, a walk and a hit batter in the sixth inning. Reliever Aaron Snow couldn't retire Czarnecki who pulled a shot down the left field line to turn a seemingly comfortable 5-0 game into a 5-4 contest.
FHSU then tied the game on Cooper Langley's one-out sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
The Gorillas benefited from four FHSU errors in the contest, scoring three unearned runs while building their early lead. Derek Hackney went 3-for-4 with two runs scored while Tory Stoffregen went 2-for-4 with a solo home run and two runs scored.
In game one, the Gorillas overcame an early 2-0 deficit by plating four runs in the second and three more runs in the third inning. Stoffregen had a two-run triple as part of Pitt State's four-run second inning.
Kyle Dickens also belted a three-run home run in the third inning.
Nate Arnold (2-0) allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings of work. Ryan McKay got the final seven outs of the game to preserve the victory. He issued a pair of bases loaded walks to force in a pair of unearned runs as part of the Tigers' three-run fifth inning, before settling down and cruising the rest of the way.
The Gorillas and Tigers will close out their four-game series with a final game Sunday (Feb. 23). First pitch is set for 1 p.m. (CST) at Larks Park.
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