Fueled by George Sutherland’s first-inning grand slam and a seven-run third inning, the Hays Larks rolled to an 11-3 win over Dodge City on Tuesday night at Larks Park.
Sutherland staked the Larks to a 4-0 lead with a shot to right field with the bags full to set the tone in a key Kansas Collegiate League Baseball Jayhawk West Division contest.
“He left me the low fastball that I was looking for,” Sutherland said. “I was just trying to elevate something to score the run from third, and it turned out to go over the fence.”
The Larks moved to 24-7 overall and 8-5 in the Jayhawk West, giving them a one-game lead over Liberal in the division.
Alex Strachan hit a two-run homer to help ignite the Larks’ big inning in the third. Skyler Luna, Jimmy DeLeon and Wyatt Divis came through with RBI singles and Justin Lee delivered a two-run double for the Larks’ last runs of the night.
Sutherland had three hits for the Larks, while DeLeon, Luna, Lee and Strachan had two hits each as part of a 14-hit attack for Hays.
Larks starter Michael Gilliland went six innings to earn the win, allowing three runs on five hits with two walks while striking out eight. Trevor Munsch worked two perfect innings in relief and Drew Marrufo got the A’s in order in the ninth to close it out.
The Larks have three more division games left, all against Dodge City. They were set to play at Dodge on Wednesday night.
“It’s great to be (playing well) right now, because obviously it’s the most important time,” Sutherland said. “As a team we're all gelling, swinging the bats and pitching really good on the mound.”