Horizon's pitching has been stellar all season. Mesa Mtn. View has a solid record, but has encountered trouble winning against top-tier teams. The reverse was true Tuesday afternoon.
Mountain View shook off a 6-2 deficit midway through the contest and used Brady Gerber's RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to complete a 7-6 win over Horizon in a Division I baseball game at Toro Field.
Horizon outhit Mountain View 15-8, but the stingy Huskies' pitching staff wasn't the one coach Eric Kibler had witnessed from the season's outset on this day. Horizon pitchers walked nine batters (including two intentionally) and hit two batters. Add that to eight hits by the Toros and two errors that cost at least two runs and it wasn't Horizon's day. Mountain View had a 1-5 record vs. top 11 teams in the D-I power-rankings as they stood Tuesday morning.
“That's baseball,” Kibler said. “Our pitching has been outstanding and our defense has been solid. That wasn't the case today. We hit the ball well, but we aren't used to giving up that many runs. Our offense was good enough to win this one, but not the rest of our game.”
Mountain View posted four runs in the fourth inning chasing Horizon sophomore starter Ian Sanger and evening the contest at 6. The score remained there until the seventh despite both teams making bids in the fifth and sixth to take the lead.
Horizon threatened to take the lead in its half of seventh after getting two, two-out singles. Those ended the day for Toros' starter Spencer Moran. Moran gave way to Brent Bailey, who got a fly out to right.
Mountain View's game-winning rally in the bottom of the frame started with a leadoff walk to Conner Wise, the Toros' seventh free pass for the game. Kyler Kocher sacrificed Wise to second. Situations dictated Horizon issuing intentional walks to fill the bases for Gerber in hopes of getting a double play. The Toros left fielder laced a 2-2 pitch to left to plate Wise with the winning run.
“We have a platoon in left with Gerber and Canon Anderson,” Mountain View coach Mike Thiel said. “They've been unbelieveable. Both are hitting .400 or better (from the No. 9 hole)….. I thought we did a good job of making their pitcher work. I know he's beaten some good teams.”
Thiel credited staff ace Moran for a gutty performance.
“He gave up a lot of hits today,” Thiel said. “A lot of kids would have packed it in after the four runs in the second. He fought through it and gave us a great effort.”
Sanger, a lefthander, brought a 4-0 record to the contest with wins over Hamilton, Chaparral, Mountain Pointe and Red Mountain. Moran, the winner via shutout in games earlier against Desert Ridge and Perry, didn't have a 1-2-3 inning on Tuesday. He was just shy of the 100-pitch mark when he exited.
Sanger allowed five hits, five walks and six runs in 3 1/3 innings. Moran survived a rough second inning that saw Horizon bat around, score four times and was capped by a long two-run homer by the Huskies' Matt Kroon. Moran made it through 6 2/3 innings He was touched for 15 hits and all the runs.
Horizon entered play allowing 46 runs in 24 games thanks to its superb pitching and normally steady defense. Horizon had blanked its last three opponents — Chaparrall, Desert Mountain and North Canyon — prior to Tuesday. The Huskies dropped to 20-5 overall and 11-3 in power-ranking games. Mountain View boosted its mark to 17-9, 10-4 prg.
Kroon and Ben Lewis each had three hits for Horizon and teammates Evan Williams, Alex Campbell, Trevor Horn and Chris Isbell had two hits apiece. Alex Traylor was 3-for-3 for Mountain View. Chase Rich, Ronnie Adair, Bailey and Gerber had RBI for Mountain View.