MESA, AZ - Getting eight strong innings from lefty Matt Mosca (Fr., Las Vegas, Nev/Cimmaron-Memorila H.S.) who helped Mesa slide into the ninth inning with a 6-0 lead, MCC defeated Phoenix, 6-4, Friday to even the Region I semi-final series at a game apiece, setting up a winner-take-all battle Saturday.
The game to advance to the regional championship series will start at noon at Mesa and give the winner a home series against fourth-seeded Scottsdale which ended its series against No. 1-seed Paradise Valley with a 10-4 victory Friday.
With Mosca in control, the T-Birds inched out a run in each of the first three innings to go up 3-0, just as they had the previous day in what turned out to be a 9-6 loss.
MCC made it 3-0 in the third after a double by Gudac. Jordan Zimmerman (So., Mesa, AZ/Red Mountain H.S.) drove him in with a single. That was the second of four hits for Zimmerman who also had four in game one and is 8-9 in the series.
It stayed 3-0 until the seventh. Another leadoff triple, this one by James Anderson (So., Henderson, Nev/Coronado H.S.) keyed this inning with the run scoring on a sacrifice squeeze by Casey Moses (So., Tremonton, Utah/Bear River H.S.).
Leading 4-0 Mesa tacked on two more in the eighth with no one realizing how important those runs would be.
Zimmerman and Morimoto cracked back-to-back doubles with Zimmerman scoring. Boston then drove home Morimoto.
Up 6-0, Mosca attempted to go for a complete game, but after two singles by the Bears to start the inning, MCC coach Tony Cirelli went to the bull pen for closer Garrett Bowman (So., Roy, Utah/Roy H.S.).
Normally solid in those situations, Bowman walked the first batter he saw. After a strikeout, a fielder's choice scored PC's first run of the game. Pinch hitter Joe Meyers made things interesting with a three-run homer to close the gap to 6-4 making those eighth inning MCC runs oh, so important.
After a walk, however, Bowman got the third out sending the series into a one-game playoff.
Along with Zimmerman's four hits, Gudac and Morimoto had two hits each.
Mosca eventually was charged with seven hits and two runs, but gave the T-Birds eight innings sensational innings of five-hit shutout pitching, before the 100 degree heat may have taken its toll, in easily his best, and most important, start of the year.