Mesa, AZ - The #1 Mesa Thunderbirds advance to the Region I / ACCAC DII Championship series after they defeated the #4 Glendale Gauchos Friday afternoon, 4-1.
Jake Denham followed Carter Robinson's complete game yesterday and threw one of his own, going all nine innings, allowing seven hits, one earned run, while striking out nine. Between Denham today and Robinson yesterday, neither pitcher allowed a runner by way of the walk. In the two games combined, the two starters pitched 18 total innings, had 19 strikeouts, zero walks while allowing just two earned runs.
Connor Denning provided the offense at the top of the order for the Birds, going 3-4 on the afternoon with three RBI's and a stolen base. It was a three-run second inning that began the scoring for Mesa as Greg Student and Corey Chaplin each singled to start the inning. Josh Leslie then walked to load the bases for catcher Zach Wagner who singled to right field, scoring Student from third. Denning then followed with a single that scored Chaplin and Leslie, making it a 3-0 game at that point.
Denning would later knock in Leslie again in the fourth inning with a single, tallying Mesa's final fourth run. In the two game series, Denning went 5-8 with three RBI's and one run scored while Josh Leslie went 5-7 with four runs scored.
With the victory, Mesa advances to the Region I / ACCAC DII championship series which will be held Thursday, May 9th, Friday, May 10th and if necessary, Saturday, May 11th at Mesa CC. They will face the series winner of Gateway and Scottsdale.
Thursday and Friday's game will be at 3 pm with Saturday's game scheduled for a noon start if necessary. The winner of the championship series will head to the NJCAA National Championship Tournament in Enid, OK.