LIBERAL — The Hays Larks overcame a 2-0 deficit to win their fourth consecutive road game Tuesday against the Liberal Bee Jays.
The Larks put together a two-run seventh before Fort Hays State University outfielder Connor Ross singled in Andy Shadid with one out in the ninth to earn the 3-2 victory.
Hays (10-1, 6-1) stranded a pair of runners in the first and third innings, though Stephen Yancey did his part on the mound to keep the Bee Jays scoreless through three. In the fourth, Blake Brewster hit an RBI triple and later scored on a ground out to give Liberal the 2-0 edge.
Yancey threw 7.2 innings, allowing just three hits and one walk. He struck out five on the night. He has allowed just nine hits in 17 innings this season.
The Larks again left two on in the sixth, though they made up for it with some offensive support for Yancey.
Shadid and Ross reached on bunts around a fielding error that allowed Jax Biggers to occupy a base. Austin O’Brien scored Shadid with a single on the first pitch he saw. Devlin Granberg grounded into a double play, though Biggers came around to score to tie the game at two apiece.
Yancey allowed a double and walked a batter in the eighth, forcing manager Frank Leo to bring in Ryan Van Leeuwen from the bullpen. His second pitch resulted in an inning-ending fly out.
Shadid led off the ninth with a walk and steal of second on a wild pitch. In a 2-1 count, Ross fired a single to give Shadid enough room to score. The leadoff Bee Jay in the ninth reached base though closer Chad Smith got the next three Bee Jays out in order to earn the save.
Ross, O’Brien and Granberg — the Larks’ two-, three- and four-hole hitters — each finished with multiple hits and an RBI each. O’Brien led the way with three hits and the lone extra-base hit for the Larks.
Liberal’s Andrew Schuwulst took the loss in a complete game, allowing just two earned runs and one walk.
The Jayhawk League foes return to the diamond in Liberal at 7 p.m. today for Game 2 of a three-game series.
The Larks stand alone at the top of the Jayhawk League standings entering contest.
Hays Larks 3, Liberal Bee Jays 2
Hays (10-1, 6-1) 000 000 201 — 3 9 0
Liberal (3-6, 2-5) 000 200 000 — 2 4 4
Yancey, Van Leeuwen (8), Smith (9) and McKinzie; Schuwulst and Rodriguez. W — Van Leeuwen (1-0). L — Schuwulst. Sv — Smith. 2B — O’Brien, Hays; Deeley, Liberal. 3B — Brewster, Liberal.