Mesa, AZ—After losing six out of their last eight conference match-ups, the Mesa Community College baseball team found their winning stride once again on Wednesday afternoon in Mesa when the Thunderbirds held off the Arizona Christian University Firestorm Junior Varsity squad, 2-1 in a non-conference showdown.
Even though a combination of six different Mesa pitchers, headlined by freshman Chase Merriman and sophomore Matt Mosca, only allowed two hits and struck out 10 different Firestorm batters, the Thunderbirds were held to only two hits (four hits for the entire game) through the first five innings of work by Arizona Christian's junior Garrett Day.
The duo of Merriman and Mosca struck out five different Firestorm batters through the first four innings of play for the Thunderbirds. That allowed sophomore Mitchell Morimoto to double to left center in the bottom half of the inning and score from third on a wild pitch to give Mesa the game's first lead of the day, 1-0.
Arizona Christian didn't wait long to even the score when sophomore Tyler Morgan stole second base in the top of the fifth inning and then scored from second after an error was committed by the Thunderbirds.
Both teams combined for only two hits over the next three innings of play, but after freshman Estaban Martinez led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single to right field and then stole both second and third base after sophomore Jacob Boston was walked, a distracting attempted steal by Boston allowed for Martinez to slide in safely at home and give Mesa the late-inning lead, 2-1.
The Thunderbirds solidified the win in the ninth inning when freshman Nick Ohanian retired three consecutive ACU batters for his seventh save of the 2016 campaign and gave Mesa their second victory in the last three games by a final score of 2-1.
The Thunderbirds will next grace the baseball diamond on Thursday afternoon when they welcome back the Arizona Christian University Firestorm Junior Varsity team to Mesa for a scheduled first pitch at approximately 3:00 p.m. MST.