By The Hays Daily News

HAYSVILLE -- The Hays Larks picked up a key Jayhawk League win on the road Tuesday in the first of a four-game set with the league-leading Haysville Heat.

Jacob Booden pitched five innings and the Larks claimed a 4-2 victory, moving to within a game and a half of the league lead.

Riley Welch pitched three innnings of scoreless relief, and Larry Rodriguez pitched the ninth for the save. Booden improved to 2-3 overall with a 3.60 earned-run average, while Rodriguez earned his fourth save and lowered his ERA to 2.16 over eight appearances.

Hays (16-8 overall, 12-7 Jayhawk) jumped out early Tuesday with a solo home run by Cody Gougler and managed a 2-1 lead in the fourth on an RBI single by Elvin Rodriguez.

Gougler has hit three homers this summer, three off the team lead.

Hays then broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth on an RBI fielder's choice to Sean Wilson, scoring Justin Klusak. Then Wilson scored the game's final run on a fielding error at first base. Haysville committed four errors in the contest.

Six Larks had hits in the ball game in Gougler, Brian Martin, Klusak, Ollie Goulder, Wilson and Elvin Rodriguez. Martin is now hitting .423 for the summer to lead the Larks in 25 games played (also a team high).

Haysville (20-9, 16-8) and Hays will play a doubleheader tonight as part of a rain makeup from earlier this summer.

Liberal (21-7, 13-7) jumped the Larks in the league race with a doubleheader sweep of the Derby Twins on Tuesday, claiming a 9-2 win in the opener, then a 6-4 decision in the nightcap.