Mesa, AZ - The #7 Mesa Thunderbirds defeated the Phoenix College Bears Friday afternoon, 6-1, to clinch the #1 seed in the Region I - ACCAC DII tournament for the third consecutive season.
With the win, it also marks the 10th season that Mesa has won at least 40 games or more in the tenure of Head Coach Tony Cirelli.
Leading the way offensively for the T-Birds was sophomore catcher Marcus Skundrich, who went 2-4 on the day with three RBI's. Mesa began its scoring in the bottom of the second when Riley Peterson doubled to lead off the inning. He was knocked in later in the inning on a ground ball out from Corey Chaplin.
The T-Birds then scored two runs in the third inning when Connor Denning was doubled home by Skundrich to make it a 2-0 game. A single by Riley Peterson then scored courtesy-runner Cade Maestas to make it a 3-0 game.
Mesa would add a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth to take a solid 6-1 advantage.
On the hill, ACCAC DII Pitcher of the Week Carter Robinson pitched five solid innings, allowing three hits while striking out seven. But Robinson fell into some trouble in the sixth inning as the Bears loaded the bases with no outs. Jake Beeler came in relief and was able to strike out his first two hitters looking and got the third out on a popup to third baseman Joshua Brown to eliminate any threat of scoring.
Beeler pitched 2.1 innings, striking out four while allowing one run. Nolan Ruff finished off the final 1.2 innings for Mesa, facing five total batters and retiring all five he faced, striking out two.
With the win, Mesa moves to 40-15 overall and 24-15 in the ACCAC. Clinching the #1 seed means the T-Birds will host throughout the Region I playoffs, with the semi-final round beginning next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 3-5. Thursday and Friday's games will start at 3 pm with Saturday's game starting at noon if necessary.
The Championship round with be the following Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the highest remaining seed. Each series is a best of three and all games will be played at the highest seeds field.
The final pairings have yet to be set but will be determined by the end of tomorrow's games between Paradise Valley-Glendale and Scottsdale-Gateway.