HAYS – The Hays Larks thin pitching staff received a solid outing from starter Michael Gilliland as they held off a ninth inning rally to beat the Liberal Bee Jays 7-4 Sunday night at Larks Park. The Larks (20-5, 19-4 KCLB) have won two of the first three games in the four-game series to take a one-game lead over the Bee Jays (16-9, 14-9 KCLB) in the KCLB Jayhawk West Division.
Frank Leo Postgame Interview
Gilliland walked the game’s first batter which led to a run then threw five scorless innings before allowing a run in the seventh. Gilliland ended his night with a strikeout of Cayde Ward with the bases loaded to preserve a 6-2 lead. The Jacksonville State product who’s coming off a lat strain, allowed two runs on nine hits with six strikeouts and one walk over seven innings for his first win of the season.
Drew Marrufo worked a scoreless eighth but issued a leadoff walk and hit a batter to start the ninth. After giving up two runs and with two runners on base, he struck out Corbin Truslow to end the game.
The Larks scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the lead for good. George Southerland hit a one-out double and scored on Alex Strachen’s infield single. Jerrod Belbin drove in Justin Lee with a base hit to right. Brook Brannon’s groundout drove in Strachen for the third run of the inning.
The Larks pushed their lead to 5-1 on Southerland two-run single to right field in the second
The lead grew to 6-1 on Strachen’s two-out RBI double which scored Jimmy DeLeon in the fourth.
Liberal scored in the seventh with a two-out single from No. 9 hitter Aiden Shepardson then loaded the bases before Ward struck out to end the threat.
Jon Sotto (1-1) went four innings and suffered the loss for Liberal. He allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
The Lark and Bee Jays close out their season series Monday night at 7 p.m. Pregame at 6:45 p.m. on KAYS (94.3-FM, 1400-AM).