Tigers Looking for Jolt in Offensive Production
The Tigers lost their top seven performers in batting average from the 2016 squad. Senior Kylie Strand is the top offensive returner after posting a .219 average with 12 extra-base hits (8 doubles, 4 home runs), 25 RBI, and 20 runs scored in 2016. Besides Strand, senior outfielder Claudia Vazquez was the only other Tiger in the everyday lineup last season. The Tigers will need several new faces to step up and give the squad offensive punch.
Carrie Clarke is the lone returner for FHSU in the pitching circle entering the 2017 season. She won 5 games and struck out 40 batters in 118.2 inning of work last year. Coach Pilkington looks to freshmen Lexie Kimminau and Hailey Chapman to share plenty of time in the circle this season.
Fort Hays State finished 21-30 overall in 2016 and 13-13 in MIAA play. The Tigers tied for 6th in the MIAA and were the No. 7 seed in the MIAA Tournament. FHSU had 4 All-MIAA performers in 2016, including Paxton Duran, Rilee Krier, Courtney Dobson, and Tori Beltz - all of whom graduated.
Fort Hays State will play 11 games away from home to open the season before hosting its first home doubleheader on February 22. The Tigers have 9 doubleheaders scheduled at home, with 6 being part of MIAA play. FHSU has a total of 56 games on its schedule, with a 26-game conference schedule. Conference play begins in mid-March.