Matt Augustine retired the final 16 Nebraska-Omaha batters, and four Fort Hays State Tigers delivered an RBI, as the 4th-seeded FHSU squad handed third-seed UNO a 4-1 defeat in the day’s final game at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Augustine threw 130 pitches and struck out five in the complete game gem. After UNO’s Jake Benne doubled to right center in the bottom of the fourth with two out, the Mavericks wouldn’t get another baserunner on the night with Augustine picking up steam as the game progressed.
Fort Hays (31-20) advances to Friday (May 7) night’s 7 pm game against Emporia State, while Nebraska-Omaha (32-17) will face top-seeded Central Missouri at 3 pm, also on Friday. Whereas UCM won their opener, 12-2, on Thursday afternoon, Friday’s game will serve as a must-win for the Mavericks to keep their conference tournament hopes alive.
Both teams plated a run in the first inning, but it was an RBI single by Brennan Peterson and a sacrifice fly by Chase Schippers in the fourth that gave Fort Hays a 3-1 lead. The Tigers would tack on an insurance run in the top of the fifth when Kelton Rule drove in Sloan Soulia with two outs.
Augustine moved to 7-3 on the season and logged his fifth complete game with the effort, as he got help from his defense in the final three innings. Two diving catches in right by Nash Smith and a pair of short-hop snares by the left side of the Tiger infield helped keep UNO at bay late and send the Tigers through to the next round.
Soulia pounded out three singles to lead all players, while both Rule and Peterson recorded multi-hit nights.
Six different players tallied hits for the Mavericks, with Andrew Hansen knocking in UNO’s first-inning run with a sacrifice fly to left field.