Mesa, AZ—After winning four straight conference match-ups, the Mesa Community College baseball team (37-15, 23-14 ACCAC) went back and forth with the visiting Scottsdale Community College Fighting Artichokes (28-24, 18-19 ACCAC) on Tuesday afternoon in Mesa before finally wrapping up their fifth straight conference win, 9-7.
The Artichokes may have totaled three homeruns behind the bats of Francisco Palacios, freshman Brett Adams and sophomore Marcus Still, but the Thunderbirds did one better as they scored nine runs on 13 total hits, including multi-hit games from freshmen Garrett Smith and Esteban Martinez and sophomores Mitchell Morimoto and Jacob Boston.
In a game that recorded 16 combined runs, the Artichokes took first crack at the scoreboard when sophomore Callahan Moltzan reached base on a fielding error to score freshman Zakoryan May, and then Moltzan himself scored when sophomore Tristan Perkins roped a double out to right centerfield giving Scottsdale an early 2-0 lead.
The Thunderbirds didn't wait long to get on the scoreboard themselves in the bottom of the first inning as a Ground Rule Double to center from Morimoto scored freshman Jarred Crockett from second to only trail the Artichokes by one, 2-1.
After the Thunderbirds took a 3-2 lead in the fourth inning behind a sacrifice fly RBI from freshman Kody Funderburk and sophomore Hunter Bross scoring freshman Drew Bailey after reaching base on an error, the Artichokes tied things up in the fifth, 3-3, when Palacios hit a towering solo homerun over the leftfield wall.
Mesa regained the 4-3 advantage in the bottom of the fifth inning when Funderburk plated Martinez with a double to right center field, but homeruns from Adams and Still helped Scottsdale take the lead in the top of the sixth inning, 7-4.
The Artichokes may have just garnered the largest lead of the day, but the Thunderbirds refused to stay down as they recorded five total hits in the bottom of the sixth, including four combined runs batted in by Morimoto, Boston and Martinez, giving Mesa the lead after six innings, 8-7.
A sacrifice fly out from Boston scored Morimoto in the bottom of the eighth to take a 9-7 lead, and after freshman Nick Ohanian recorded his conference-leading tenth save of the season, the Thunderbirds extended their winning streak to five games with a final score of 9-7.
The Thunderbirds will next be in action this Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. MST when they head north to Scottsdale as they try to make it two wins in a row over the Fighting Artichokes.