Ryan Ruder threw five scoreless innings and the Larks’ bullpen continued its impressive week as the Larks earned their sixth straight win with a 6-1 victory over the Colorado Sox on Saturday night at Larks Park.
Fort Hays State’s Ruder moved to 4-0 on the summer. He allowed three hits and gave up just one walk while striking out four to help the Larks improve to 12-4.
"Ryan was Ryan," Larks manager Frank Leo said of the TMP-Marian product. "He had his curve ball going, he throws strikes, keeps the ball down. He’s going to give you five solid innings and keep you in the game."
Paddy Walsh took over for Ruder in the sixth inning. He gave up one run in two innings.
Cole Zimmerman, also a former TMP Monarch like Ruder, struck out five in two scoreless innings to bounce back from a rough outing in Colorado last week.
"Our pitching, they’re turning the corner," Leo said. "They’re throwing a lot of strikes and pounding the zone.
"It was good to see Zim bounce after his outing in Colorado. He was in command, looked comfortable on the mound. That’s what we saw out of his first three outings this summer. Everybody’s going to have a hiccup once in a while, it’s how you respond to it, and I thought he responded well today."
The Larks’ lineup gave Ruder run support early. Leo Jiminian, Grant Lung and Wyatt Divis each singled to start the bottom of the fourth. Cameron Pehrson and Matt Cavanagh had back-to-back RBI singles, and Sean Cooper drove in the Larks’ third run with a sacrifice fly.
"You always get a little greedy and think maybe you should have had some more, but to put up a 3-spot in the first is a good start," Leo said. "It kind of sets the tone for the rest of the game.
"(Colorado starter Kendrick Catron) settled in, he made some pitches on us when he had to. But we’re going to take the win. I thought it was a nice, clean ballgame for us."
Max McGuire pushed the Larks lead to 4-0 with an RBI single in the third. Corbin Truslow singled in a run in the sixth, and Jace Armstrong had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh.
Jiminian and Cooper had two hits each to lead the Larks’ 11-hit attack. Seven other Larks had one hit apiece.
"It was good balance and that’s what you like to see every night," Leo said.
The Larks will close out a two-game set with the Sox at 7 p.m. Sunday night at Larks Park.
Hays Larks 6, Colorado Sox 1
Hays Larks; 301;001;10x;--;6;11;1
Catron, Hayen (6) and Ackerman. Ruder, Walsh (6), Zimmerman (8) and McGuire. 2B -- Colorado: Bard.