Fort Hays State erupted for seven runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and defeated Missouri Southern 10-6 Friday night at Larks Park in the opener of a key MIAA four-game series.
Fort Hays began the series in fifth place in the MIAA standings with a 17-15 record, while Missouri Southern and Northwest Missouri were tied for sixth at 14-16.
Fort Hays is now 26-16 overall, while Missouri Southern slipped to 20-23.
The big hit for Fort Hays came with two out in the bottom of the eighth inning when, with the bases loaded, shortstop Kelton Rule blasted a grand-slam home run that broke a 6-6 tie.
Missouri Southern took a 6-3 lead into the inning behind the pitching of starter Garrett Groom, 5-6.
Lions’ catcher Joe Lincoln was 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs, raising his batting average to .434. Third baseman Skyler Rawlins was 4-for-4 with a double and scored three runs.
Dane Kolkmeyer, who started at second base, raised his average to .300 by going 2-for-4 at the plate.
Missouri Southern scored three runs in the first inning and added two more in the third for a 5-2 lead. Fort Hays scored once in the fifth before the Lions added another run in the sixth.
The series resumes today with a pair of seven-inning games scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., then concludes Sunday with a nine-inning game scheduled for noon.
The Lions’ regular season ends this coming weekend at home with a four-game series against Southwest Baptist.