The Hays Larks had to settle for a split in their four-game series with Liberal, dropping a tough 5-4 decision in 10 innings to the Bee Jays on Monday night at Larks Park.
Liberal tied the game with a run in the ninth, took the lead in top of the 10th and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the 10th to deny the Larks’ bid to win the series.
The loss puts Hays back tied with Liberal for first in the Kansas Collegiate League’s Jayhawk West Division at 7-5 in division play.
The Larks (20-6) had a prime opportunity to tie the game or earn a walkoff in the bottom of the 10th, putting runners at the corners with one out after singles from Jarrod Belbin and Hernan Yanez. But Max McGuire’s bunt attempt was popped up to the catcher for the second out. Jimmy DeLeon then drew a walk to load the bases for Drake Angeron.
After falling behind 0-2, Angeron worked the count full before striking out swinging against Liberal reliever Trey Goodrich to end the game.
Liberal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third but the Larks knotted it up with a three-run fifth. George Sutherland put the Larks on the board with a run-scoring single and Alex Strachan tied it up with a two-run single.
The Larks grabbed the lead in the bottom of the seventh on Mikey Gangwish’s groundout that scored Justin Lee.
Wyatt Divis, who returned after missing a couple of games with strep throat, tossed scoreless seventh and eighth innings out of the bullpen. He allowed two walks and a hit in the ninth before Drew Marrufo entered, limiting the Bee Jays to just one run to keep it tied to 4.
Liberal scored the go-ahead run on Shane Sirdashney's two-out single off Marrufo in the top of the 10th.
Larks' starter Tommy Garcia went six innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits with one walk while striking out six.
The win gave Liberal the season series against Larks, 5-3. Both Hays and Liberal have four division games left against Dodge City.
The Larks are off Tuesday and Wednesday before playing at Wellington on Thursday and Friday.