Enid, OK - The Mesa Thunderbirds survived 22 innings of baseball on Tuesday as they advance to the semi-final round of the NJCAA DII National Tournament with an 8-6 victory in 10 innings over Northeast College.
It was a win or go home situation for the Birds as they lost their first game of the day to Madison, 4-3 in 12 innings.
In the second game, Mesa scored a few of their runs unconventionally as they pushed across three runs on wild pitches. The two go-ahead runs in the top of the 10th inning each came on wild pitches.
Down 2-0 after the first inning, Mesa went ahead 3-2 as Ben Ferguson scored on a wild pitch followed by Luke Patty scoring on a Caleb Lumbard sacrifice fly. Luke Patty then homered in the third inning to give Mesa its one run advantage.
The Hawks made themselves known though in the sixth inning as they scored two runs to go in front, 6-4, while also pushing Mesa starting pitcher, Cameron Doherty, from the game.
That's when sophomore relief pitcher Dustin Schorie stepped up and made tough pitches. Entering the sixth inning with just one out and two men on, Schorie not only stopped the bleeding in that inning but finalized the last 4.2 innings, allowing four hits, no runs while striking out eight batters, earning his first victory of the post-season.
To send it to extra innings, Mesa used a two-run eighth inning to tie the game at six. Connor Denning singled home Brian So, who hustled out a dropped-third strike to second base. Denning eventually made it to third and he scored when Paul Steffensen grounded out the Hawk second baseman.
Mesa now will play Madison in the semi-final round. The T-Birds need to beat Madison twice to advance to the National Title game. If Mesa wins game one on Wednesday night, then they will play again on Thursday night since it is a double-elimination tournament and Madison is currently 2-0.
Wednesday night's game will be at 7 pm CT, 5 pm AZ time on NJCAA TV.