(ST. JOSEPH) Missouri Western's bats have kept them in games all season. That became apparent again Sunday as they boosted one of Western's biggest comebacks of the year.
Eleven combined runs in the sixth inning resulted in a 10-10 tie between the Griffons and Fort Hays State. Spencer Shockley's two-run single in the bottom of the eighth broke it and proved to be the decider in a 12-10 victory.
The win sends Western (37-8) to Kansas City, Kan. as one of the final four teams vying for the MIAA Tournament Championship.
The Griffons got the first three runs on the board between Nate Ramler's RBI double in the second and Bubba Dotson's two-run home run in the third. The Tigers (23-22) got them all back in the top of the fourth off Ethan Ward. Six runs came off Ward overall, only two of which were earned. None of the four runs given up by Kyle Kelly in relief were earned as the Griffons committed three errors.
Western came back with two runs in the next frame before Sam Thornton's RBI pulled Fort Hays within 6-5 heading into the sixth. The Tigers then blew up for six runs to grab a 10-5 advantage, highlighted by Ryan Busboom's grand slam.
The lead was short-lived as Kyle Simpson began the come back with a two-run single that same inning. Ramler got the next tally with a SAC fly to right, followed by RBI shots from Shockley and Grant Fink to knot it.
Mason Queen (2-0) pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings to hold off the Tigers, while Shockley's go-ahead single provided enough cushion to seal the win.
The Griffons will face fourth-seeded Central Oklahoma Thursday at 11 a.m. at Community America Ballpark.