Information from Pima College’s media-relations department contributed to this report:
The No. 3 Pima College baseball team rallied on two occasions to take Game One of the NJCAA Region I, Division I semifinals to defeat No. 2 South Mountain 5-4 in Phoenix, taking a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
The Aztecs (42-15) and the Cougars (43-14) will play Game Two on Friday at South Mountain at 2 p.m.
Down 4-2 in the eighth inning, sophomore Andrew Stucky (Canyon del Oro grad) hit a lead-off single.
Sophomore Hunter Faildo drew a walk to put two on base. With one out, freshman David Shackelford loaded the bases after he drew a walk. Sophomore Rocco Gump, son of former Arizona second baseman Chris Gump, hit a sacrifice-fly RBI to bring in Stucky to cut it to 4-3.
Sophomore Braedon Mondeau (Cienega) put the Aztecs ahead for good with a two-run single to score Faildo and Shackelford.
Freshman closer J.T. Drake pitched the final two innings and got a 6-4-3 double play to end the eighth inning. He got a 4-6-3 double play in the ninth as the Cougars stranded two on base to end the game.
The Aztecs trailed 2-0 when South Mountain’s Jared Glinski hit a two-run homer.
They cut into the lead when Benji Cazares (Tucson High) hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to plate sophomore Gage Mestas, who was hit by a pitch earlier in the inning.
In the sixth inning, Mestas drew a lead-off walk, and with one out, Cazares tied the game at 2-2 with an RBI single to score Mestas once again.
The Cougars took the lead with two runs in the seventh inning off a sacrifice-fly RBI by Sam Christiansen and an RBI single by Core Jackson.
Cazares finished the game 2 for 4 with two RBIs while Mondeau went 2 for 3 with two RBIs. Mestas scored two runs and had two steals. Stucky was 2 for 5 with a run and Faildo went 1 for 4 with a run.
Sophomore Wyatt Hardy picked up the win after pitching one-third of an inning and Drake got the save after throwing the final two innings, giving up two hits with one walk. Sophomore Matt Cornelius got the start as he pitched 5 1/3 innings, giving up two runs (both earned) on four hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
PCC 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 3 0 5 8 1
SMCC 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 4 9 1
W – Hardy (1-0). S- Drake (1). 2B: Stucky. SB: Mestas 2, Garcia, Mondeau