Mesa, AZ – In an attempt to claim the top spot in the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference Division II playoffs, the Mesa Community College baseball team (38-15, 23-14 ACCAC) traveled to Scottsdale Community College on Tuesday afternoon and shutout the Artichokes by a score of 7-0 to keep their top-seeded playoff hopes alive.
While freshmen Kelby Richardson and Joshua Brown carried the load offensively for the Thunderbirds with five total hits and two runs batted in, the pitching performance from sophomore Chase Merriman stole the show against Scottsdale.
In six innings pitched, Merriman allowed only two hits and zero runs while striking out 10 total batters to help lead Mesa to a 7-0 victory.
Both Merriman and Scottsdale's sophomore Trevor Horn struck out a pair of batters in the first inning, but the momentum changed in the second for the Thunderbirds when sophomore Garrett Smith laced a single out to right field to plate Esteban Martinez and take an early 1-0 lead.
Mesa continued their reckoning in the second inning when Brown and freshman Cameron Cruz combined for three additional RBI's to take a 4-0 lead after two.
As Merriman continued to keep the Artichoke hitters at bay and with the Thunderbirds owning a 5-0 lead heading into the sixth inning, sophomore Johnny Gilleras pinch hit for Jared Crockett and scored both Richardson and Brown with a triple out to left center to give Mesa a commanding 7-0 lead.
Mesa's relief corps of freshman Holden Bernhardt and sophomores John Cranston and Nick Ohanian kept Scottsdale hitless over the final three frames to capture their second win of the season over the Artichokes by a 7-0 final.
The Thunderbirds will now bring their show back home, as Scottsdale will head down to Mesa on Wednesday afternoon for a 3:00 p.m. PST first pitch.