Nolan Ruff Shines in Complete Game 7-4 Victory for Mesa, T-Birds Are Championship Bound

Nolan Ruff Shines in Complete Game 7-4 Victory for Mesa, T-Birds Are Championship Bound

Enid, OK - Nolan Ruff usually waits till about the fifth or sixth inning to start getting warmed up to go into relief for a game.  Today, Mesa Head Coach Tony Cirelli called on the sophomore right-hander to be his starting pitcher and did Ruff ever show up to pitch.

Ruff earned a complete game victory, the third complete game a Mesa pitcher has thrown in this 2019 World Series tournament.  Ruff threw nine innings, allowed 11 hits, four runs, one earned run, struck out nine while throwing two walks.  For Ruff, this was only his second appearance during the entirety of the 2019 playoffs for Mesa, with his only other appearance coming in the second Gateway game on May 10th.  He only threw one pitch, getting the opponent to pop out for the third out of the inning.

Connor Denning took the third pitch of the ballgame to left center field for a solo homer.  Denning went 4-5 on the afternoon with a homer, double, two RBI's and two runs scored.

Mesa fell behind in the second inning but a big seventh inning propelled the Birds ahead for good.  With two runners on base, Connor Denning singled home Cade Maestas, who reached base with a double.

With Zach Wagner and Denning on base, Paul Steffensen roped a triple down the left field line, scoring Wagner and Denning, pushing Mesa's lead to 5-3.

Taylor Darden then hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Steffensen, pushing Mesa's lead to 6-3.  After Luke Patty reached base on an error and Greg Student walked, Josh Leslie collected his second hit of the inning with a single to center field scoring Patty.  

The five run inning solidified Mesa's final runs and also solidified its place in the championship game.

Mesa will now face the winner of the Northern Oklahoma College-Enid, Pasco-Hernando game in the title game which will be a one game take all on Friday night at 7 pm CT.

MESA THUNDERBIRDS TEAMSHOP

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