Mesa, AZ - Winding down to the end of the season, victories are at premium and with how tight the ACCAC DII playoff picture is looking, the final games of the season feel more like playoff games than regular season games.
The #13 Mesa Thunderbirds won a big game Wednesday afternoon against the Scottsdale Artichokes, 6-4, spliting the two game series with Scottsdale on Tuesday and Wednesday. With the Gateway Geckos losing both games at Yavapai on Wednesday, the top three teams all sit at 16-16 in conference play with six games to play.
After the Artichokes opened up the top of the first with two runs, Mesa rallied to score in the bottom of the inning, with the help of some free bases. Connor Denning led off with a walk, followed by two singles by Paul Steffensen and Luke Patty. A walk by Taylor Darden scored Denning, making it a 2-1 game. Ben Ferguson was then hit by a pitch, allowing Steffensen to score, tying the game at two. After two strikeouts, Corey Chaplin singled in Luke Patty and Taylor Darden, taking the T-Bird lead to 4-2.
Jake Denham once again pitched into the seventh inning for the Birds, allowing eight hits, three runs, one earned run, striking out six while walking two. Denham earned his sixth win of the season. Cody Tucker earned his first save of the season.
Mesa moves to 33-17 overall on the season and 16-16 in conference. The T-Birds will play a two-game weekend series with the South Mountain Cougars Friday and Saturday. Friday's game will be at MCC, beginning at 3 pm then at South Mountain on Saturday, first pitch at noon.