Isaac Rome hit a two-out, two-run home run over the left field fence in the top of the ninth inning to lift No. 5 seed Missouri Western to a 5-4 victory over No. 4 seed Fort Hays State in game one of the 2011 MIAA Baseball Championship Thursday afternoon at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Rome was 0-for-4 heading into the ninth inning, but made the most of his fifth at-bat to help the Griffons stay alive in the tournament. Missouri Western (26-23) will now face either Central Missouri or Emporia State on Friday. UCM will play the lowest remaining seed after Thursday’s games, while ESU will play the highest remaining seed.
SloanSoulia led Fort Hays State (28-23) on the afternoon, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. The senior from Falcon, Colo., hit a bloop single just over the firstbaseman’s head in the bottom of the first inning to drive in two runs and give the Tigers the early lead, an advantage they would hold until Rome’s shot in the ninth.
Ryan Carbah came in for starter Brandon Simmons in the bottom of the fifth and pitched 4.1 shutout innings to right the ship for Missouri Western and get the win.
Andy Lewton went eight innings for Fort Hays State, allowing 11 hits but just two runs while striking out four batters.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Brandon Hoefler singled up the middle to score Sheldon Howell and put FHSU up 3-0. Three batters later, Soulia singled through the left side to send Hoefler home and give the Tigers their largest lead at 4-0.
Missouri Western answered with two runs of its own in the top of the sixth. Tony Loeffler hit an RBI double to left center to put the Griffons on the board, and a sacrifice fly by Jack Bond brought MWSU to within 4-2.
Afterscoreless seventh and eight innings, Missouri Western scored on a fielder’s choice as Ian Atkinson grounded out to first in the top of the ninth to cut the Fort Hays State lead to 4-3, and Rome gave the Griffons the lead for good two batters later.