Gateway Rallies Late but #11 Mesa Holds on to Win, 9-8

Cameron Doherty delivers a pitch Tuesday afternoon against the Gateway Geckos. (Photo by Aaron Webster)
Cameron Doherty delivers a pitch Tuesday afternoon against the Gateway Geckos. (Photo by Aaron Webster)

Mesa, AZ - With the final weeks of the regular season coming to a close and playoffs looming in the distance, much of the final ACCAC DII matchups in the coming weeks will almost feel like a post-season battle.  Today was one of those battles that the Mesa Thunderbirds came out victorious on as they defeated the Gateway Geckos, 9-8.

Gateway, who trailed the T-Birds by four games in the conference coming into to today, gave Mesa a run for its money late in the game.  With an 8-2 lead heading into the top of the eighth inning, the Geckos tallied four runs in the inning to make it an 8-6 game.

In the bottom half of the eighth, with the bases loaded, Paul Steffensen was hit by a pitch to score Corey Chaplin from third, who reached on a single to start the inning.  That run became the go-ahead run for the T-Birds as Gateway would push across two more runs in the top of the ninth before Nolan Ruff closed the door and claimed the save for Mesa.

Mesa moves to 36-13 overall and 20-13 in the ACCAC.  Mesa and Gateway will finish the two-game series tomorrow afternoon at Gene Autry Park, beginning at 3 pm.

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