Phoenix, AZ - #8 Mesa baseball took full advantage of seven South Mountain errors Wednesday afternoon as they beat the Cougars, 12-0.
Mesa started their scoring in the second, starting with Marcus Skundrich reaching on an error by the Cougar third baseman. Kelby Richardson then reached on an infield single bringing to the plate Joshua Brown. A beautiful push bunt by Brown down the third base line helped score pinch runner Jace DeGrange from second, scoring the T-Birds first of 12 runs on the afternoon.
In the fourth inning, up 4-0, Jared Crockett hustled out a double to start the inning and with a walk by Kody Funderburk, short stop Esteban Martinez wrapped a double to right field, scoring both Crockett and Funderburk.
Skundrich singled to lead off the fifth inning and pinch runner DeGrange was eventually knocked in by Crockett with a single to center field. An infield single by Hunter Bross and walk by Cameron Cruz loaded the bases for Funderburk. Big daddy Funderburk wasted little time as he tattooed a grand slam over the right field fence to give Mesa an 11-0 lead.
On the mound, Riley Grivette had a solid start, pitching four innings, allowing just three hits, no runs and striking out one. The defense behind the Mesa pitcher was about as stellar as could be. Particularly the T-Birds middle-infielders, who turned two double-plays like the Big Red Machines Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion.
Holden Bernhardt, John Cranston and Nick Ohanian closed out the final three innings for the T-Birds. Cranston entered the bottom of the sixth inning in a tight spot, with the bases loaded and one out. It's a spot Cranston has thrived on, having entered the game with the bases loaded 13 times and only allowing runs just twice. His toughness with the bases loaded continued Wednesday as he forced a fly out to left field and a ground out to first base, to eliminate any threat of scoring. Ohanian faced only three batters in the bottom of seventh, closing out the victory with a called three strike.
Mesa moves to 34-12 overall and 19-11 in conference play. The T-Birds will have a big double-header on Saturday against Pima, with a first pitch at noon.