Special to The Sun
A trio of winning streaks came to an end in the first game, but Central Oklahoma bounced back with a second-game rout to split a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association doubleheader with Fort Hays State (Kan.) at the University of Central Oklahoma Saturday.
The Bronchos entered the day having won 13 games in a row before Fort Hays prevailed 4-1 in the opener to halt that streak along with a run of 35 straight home wins and 14 consecutive regular-season conference victories dating back to last season.
UCO stormed back with a 9-1 trouncing in the nightcap, ending the game on the eight-run rule in the sixth inning in improving to 22-8 overall and 11-1 in the league.
“We made a couple of mistakes that cost us in the first game and Fort Hays came ready to play, so give credit to them,” interim head coach Cody White said. “I was proud of the way the team put that loss behind them and bounced back strong — that was important for us.”
The Bronchos took a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning of the opener, but Fort Hays scored two unearned runs in that frame and added two more in the seventh to break Central Oklahoma’s trio of winning streaks.
Brooke Zukerman accounted for Central’s only run, launching a long bomb over the center-field fence in the fourth inning to give the Bronchos a 1-0 lead that held up until the sixth.
UCO managed just three hits in the opener.
The Bronchos equaled that hit total in the first inning of the nightcap to take early control, getting a two-run double from Zukerman and an RBI double from Emily Ditmore to go up 3-0.
The lead was 5-0 after four innings before the Tigers got on the board with their lone run in the fifth, but Central answered back with a three-run volley in its half of the inning.
Kalynn Schrock, Tori College and Hannah Justus all had run-scoring singles in that frame that upped the lead to 8-1 and Ally Dziadula ended it in the sixth when she led off with a line-drive homer to right field.
The Bronchos return to league action next weekend with doubleheaders at Southwest Baptist and Central Missouri.