Mesa, AZ - The Mesa Thunderbirds played with a purpose and a passion today as they swept Paradise Valley, 3-2, 4-1, to not only top off Sophomore Day but do it by clinching a playoff spot, the first time they've done that since 2013.
Hernandez led off the third inning with another hit, this time a double to left-center field. Marissa Ibarra-Paloma singled to center field to score Hernandez to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
The Puma's tacked on a run in the top of the fourth inning but Mesa got that run right back in the bottom half of the inning with Ibarra-Paloma knocking in Tori Gonzalez, who reached by way of the walk.
Paradise Valley scored one more run but that's all they would manange to score against Mesa starting pitcher Emerald Grijalva. Grijalva pitched a complete game, allowing just six hits, striking out three while also clubbing a double at the plate.
In game two, it was sophomore Valerie Macias single with a two base error by the right fielder with two runners that opened the scoring for the T-Birds in the bottom of the fourth to put Mesa up 2-0.
Sienna Erran and Raychele Hernandez singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth with Lindsey Paboucek knocking in Erran from second to make it a 3-1 game. Another error by the Puma right fielder on a Ballesteros fly ball allowed Hernandez to score to make it a 4-1 game.
In the circle, Gaby Lopez pitched a complete game, four hitter, allowing just one run and striking out four with only allowing just one walk.
With these two victories against Paradise Valley, Mesa finished the regular season with a 3-1 record against the Puma's. Mesa will enter the final week of the season with two games at home against Glendale, then finish the week at Central Arizona College on Saturday.