Larks take 1-0 walk-off win over RoughRiders
The Hays Larks’ pitching staff continued its stretch of dominance on Wednesday against the Colorado RoughRiders, and the Larks came up with a couple of clutch hits late to make sure the gem didn’t go to waste.
Landon Schirer and Colorado’s Matt Erickson were locked in a pitcher’s duel, but the Larks finally broke through for the lone run when the RoughRiders went to the bullpen in the ninth.
Jake Wyeth brought in Palmer Hutchison with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly to give the Larks a 1-0 walk-off win and their third straight shutout.
Schirer, a right hander from Angelo State University, turned in his best outing of the summer, throwing six scoreless innings. He worked around two hits and four walks while striking out four.
Heading into Thursday’s game with the RoughRiders, the Larks (17-6) had tossed 28 consecutive scoreless innings.
“Landon Schirer, obviously an outstanding outing; his best one of the summer,” Larks manager Frank Leo said. “When he pounds the zone and gets ahead of hitters and throws strikes, he doesn’t get hit. The key to his success is pounding the zone.
“He was pounding the zone. He was down low, had his breaking pitch working. Very workmanlike, gave us an outstanding six innings.”
Leo is hoping the outing can be a confidence builder for Schirer’s next start and something he can carry over when he returns to Angelo State.
“He can build off it. It’s something he can take back to school,” Leo said. “That’s something we were hoping to give all these kids this summer, an opportunity to play the game again and maybe get their game back.”
Larks’ reliever Drew Buhr got a double play to get out of a jam in the seventh inning, and Jacob Ensz threw two scoreless frames to earn the win.
“Everybody his been stepping up and I think they’re kind of feeding off each other,” Leo said. “When they see one guy do good, they’re determined to do just as good. Jacob Ensz came in and that’s the best he’s been. Had the slider working and was getting ahead of the hitters. When he does that, he’s awful tough to hit.”
Colorado’s Erickson was just as impressive as Schirer. The left-hander, who pitches at Yale, threw eight scoreless innings. He gave up six hits and three walks while striking out eight.
“Tremendous game for that kid,” Leo said. “He battled. His pitch count reached , and I thought he was still sharp. ... He had command of several pitches — change-up, slider, fastball — and stayed ahead of our hitters. Hats off to him. When a guy is out there like that, you’ve got to match zeroes and hopefully you can find a break somewhere along the line and put a run up.”
The Larks had a chance to get to Erickson in the eighth after a two-out single from Wyatt Divis and a double from Cameron Pehrson, but Corbin Truslow flied out to center field to end the threat.
In the ninth, Hutchison led off with a single to center. Grant Lung bunted him over to second and Max McGuire singled to move him to third.
Wyeth then came on to pinch hit and sent one deep to right for a sac fly to easily score Hutchison.
“It doesn’t matter how hard you hit the ball sometimes,” Leo said. “Palmer had barreled some balls, and this was a soft one to get it started. We put down a bunt to get him to second base. ... We decided to go right on left with Jacob Wyeth, and what a great job he did. He was down in the bullpen catching three batters before that, getting (Zach Firmature) ready.
“(Wyeth) comes in nice and relaxed and does what he needs to do. Didn’t try to get too big, just tried to get a ball in the air so we can score.”
HAYS LARKS 1, COLORADO ROUGHRIDERS 0
Erickson, Stickert (9) and Mozinzgo. Schirer, Buhr (7), Ensz (9). W — Ensz. L — Strickert. 2B — Pehrson.