Goza ends Larks' losing streak
By RANDY GONZALES
The Larks needed a stopper, someone to end their three-game losing streak.
Right-hander Nick Goza was happy to oblige. Goza allowed just a pair of unearned runs while tossing a three-hitter in Hays' 5-2 Jayhawk League win over Dodge City on Tuesday night at Larks Park.
"The fastball was the best part of the game. I could throw it just wherever I wanted to today," said Goza, who threw his first complete game in five starts this summer. "If you hit your spots, you're pretty tough to beat."
Goza, who improved to 3-0 on the season, didn't allow a hit until a leadoff double by A's right fielder Woody Drexler in the fourth. By that time, Goza was staked to a 4-0 lead.
Larks left fielder Clayton Garland hit his second homer of the season to right field in the first inning off Dodge City starter and loser Hayden Carter.
Hays added an unearned run in the second, when Desmond Roberts walked to lead off the inning, stole second and came home on a throwing error by Dodge City third baseman Dillon Engelhart. Hays had a chance for a big inning in the second, but left the bases loaded.
It appeared that might be the case again in the third, but No. 9 hitter Ty Gilmore slapped a two-out single to right with the bases loaded to score two runs and give the Larks a 4-0 lead.
"Ty Gilmore did a nice job getting our (third and fourth) runs in," Hays manager Frank Leo said. "We've been relying too much on the home run for our offense.
"It was good to see us get some RBI base hits to drive in some runs."
Hays (20-6 overall, 14-6 Jayhawk), which kept its lead in the league race, added a run in the fourth on MacKenzie Handel's RBI single with two outs.
Dodge City (10-16, 5-14), at the bottom of the Jayhawk standings, lost its third straight and fifth of seven. An error by Larks second baseman Zair Koeiman helped the A's score two times in the sixth, both runs unearned. After Koeiman's miscue with one out in the inning, Dodge City got a single, then a run-scoring double from Brian Mills and an RBI groundout by Luis Diaz.
Goza, who started the game retiring the first eight batters he faced, ended the game sending down the last eight A's hitters. Goza finished with three walks and six strikeouts.
"He got ahead of hitters, he commanded the strike zone," Leo said. "He worked a good pace, stayed ahead of his hitters."
The Larks, who got off to a fast start this summer, were happy to put the losing streak behind them.
"Maybe you start doubting how good you are," Leo said. "I just kept emphasizing to our guys, you don't get to 13-3 by being a bad ball club."
"It was huge," Goza said of the Larks picking up the win to end a seven-game home stand at 4-3. "It's big to get back on the winning track, and hopefully we can get back to our winning ways."
Hays is at Dodge City tonight, with right-hander Jeff Chesnut (2-1, 3.57 ERA) the probable starter. for the Larks.