KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A Ryan Busboom single in the sixth inning gave Fort Hays State University a 3-2 lead and then Kyle Leroy and Brett Macari made it hold up, sending the Tigers to the MIAA Baseball Tournament Championship Game today against fifth-ranked Central Missouri.
The Tigers improved to 29-23 on the year with the win. The Tigers will have to defeat Central Missouri twice to claim the championship, while Central Missouri would have to win just once.
The Tigers took a 2-1 lead with a two-out Luke Kordsmeier RBI single through the left side that plated Brandon Hoefler from second base.
The Griffons tied it at 2-2 on a David Chew RBI single.
FHSU starter Jesse Hart was able to get through 5 1-3 innings before Steve Johnson went to the pen to get Leroy, a Great Bend native and former Barton Community College player. He stymied the Griffons by stranding runners at second and first entering with one out.
Busboom, another former Cougars athlete, delivered a clutch two-out RBI single into right field in the sixth that would prove to be the winner for the Tigers.
Leroy, who moved to 3-0 on the season, beared down in the seventh Missouri Western led off the seventh with a single. He proceeded to strike out three in a row.
Brett Macari took the ball in the ninth and worked around a leadoff single, getting a pop up on a bunt, a flyout to left field, and then snagged a liner in the air right back at his legs to end the game. He picked up his eighth save of the season.