Ryan Fritz was a force to be reckoned with both on the mound and at the plate.
The Fulton senior pitcher struck out 10, had two hits - including a home run - and drove in two runs Thursday night to help power the Hornets to a 7-3 NCMC victory over Highway 54 rival Mexico at Hensley Field.
Fritz (2-2) logged the complete-game win, allowing three runs - two earned - on eight hits. He issued just one walk.
"I thought Ryan was very economical with his pitches," Fulton head coach Darren Masek said. "He's always around the plate and he has good command of his breaking ball.
"He was very strong late in the game; he was throwing harder in the last inning than he did in the previous six."
Fritz went 2-for-4 to fuel the Hornets' 11-hit attack. He launched a leadoff home run to right as Fulton (4-3, 2-2 North Central Missouri Conference) put up its first three runs in the third to take a 3-1 lead. Fritz added an RBI double during a three-run fourth as the Hornets extended their lead to 6-2.
Junior third baseman Burke Echelmeier contributed an RBI infield single in the third and senior designated hitter Austin Harrison drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Senior second baseman Alex Thomas delivered an RBI single in the fourth.
Harrison knocked in Fulton's final run with a single in the sixth.
Thomas went 2-for-3, while junior center fielder Jake Abbott was 2-for-3.
"It was probably our best overall night at the plate (this season)," Masek said. "Up and down the lineup, (numbers) one through nine, we had some good at-bats."
The Hornets - who have won two in a row - host NCMC opponent Hannibal at 5 p.m. today at Hensley Field.
Ripsch splits top honors,
Hornet golfers finish second
Fulton junior Glenn Ripsch and Linn's Dalton Wolfe each shot a 39 to share medalist honors in Thursday's triangular meet between the Hornets, Wildcats and New Bloomfield Wildcats at Tanglewood Golf Course.
Linn claimed first place with a team score of 168, fending off second-place Fulton's 173. New Bloomfield finished third with a 225.
Senior Jordan Kelley also supplied a 42 for the Hornets, followed by junior JoeRyan Anderson's 45 and freshman Kory Masek's 47.
"Other than Boonville (a season-opening third-place finish), we've been within four to five strokes in the other matches we've lost," Fulton head coach Pat Kelley said. "We're beginning to show some improvement and we're starting to be more consistent.
"We're not having those big holes that come up and bite our scores."
Meanwhile, the Hornets will be without sophomore Justin Vann for the rest of the season. According to Kelley, Vann is expected to undergo knee surgery in the next week or two due to an injury not related to golf.
"The doctors kind of shut him down," Kelley said. "It's not his senior year, so he's getting this taken care of now. He'll be feeling a lot better about himself on the golf course."
Fulton competes in a quadrangular meet at Montgomery County at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
ST. LOUIS - The Lady Blue Jays slipped to 4-9 on the season and 2-4 in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference after being swept by the Lady Griffins in Wednesday's doubleheader.
Further details were not available.
Westminster College's scheduled doubleheader Thursday at Simpson (Iowa) College was rained out.
The Lady Blue Jays host a SLIAC doubleheader against Greenville (Ill.) College at noon Saturday.
No. 8 Lady Owls golf team
breezes to championship
MARSHALL - Claiming the top seven individual places, the No. 8 William Woods University women's golf team was dominant in capturing the championship of the Missouri Valley College Spring Invitational on Tuesday.
The Lady Owls accumulated a two-day team total of 656, manhandling second-place Missouri Baptist University (820) by 164 strokes.
William Woods junior Jada Bennington secured top individual honors, carding a 152 (75-77). Sophomore Lindsey Johnson was next in second place with a 166 (85-81), sophomore Naomi Starr finished third with a 167 (86-81), junior Ashlee Daly was fourth with a 171 (86-85), freshmen Jamie Palermo (90-89) and Lacee Floyd (88-91) tied for fifth with a pair of 179s, and junior Elizabeth Welker tied for seventh with a 189 (102-87).
The Lady Owls play in the Illinois Wesleyan University Spring Invitational on April 16-17.
Owls golf team collects
first title win of season
MARSHALL - The William Woods University men's golf team, directed by individual winner J.D. Nash, picked up its first victory of the season Tuesday at the Missouri Valley College Spring Invitational.
The Owls amassed a two-day score of 618 to lock up the championship. Evangel University was second, five shots back with a 623.
Nash, a junior, shot a two-day total of 146 (72-73) to edge Rockhurst's Clark Fry by a stroke to capture individual honors. William Woods had one other golfer, junior Morgan Hough, finish in the top 10. Hough tied for seventh with a 153 (79-74).
The Owls compete in the Hannibal-LaGrange University Spring Invitational beginning Sunday and continuing through Tuesday.