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November 11, 2009 at 6:37 AM

Bierd, Solar Sox scale Rafters for fifth straight victory

The Mesa Solar Sox continued their ascent in the AFL Eastern Division standings, winning their fifth straight game by a 6-4 score over the Surprise Rafters. The victory places Mesa only 1.5 games back of division leader Phoenix.

The Solar Sox wasted no time getting on the board, as Bryan Peterson (FLA) hit the third pitch of the game for a lead-off home run. The Rafters would answer back in the bottom of the first off of Mesa starter Randor Bierd. Back-to-back hits by Jarrod Dyson (KCR) and Daniel Descalso (STL) put runners on second and third for Brandon Laird (NYY), whose groundout knocked in Dyson to knot the score at 1-1.

Mesa would explode for five runs in the top of the fourth to give the team an advantage it would never relinquish. Matt Dominguez (FLA) lead off the inning with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Steve Singleton (MIN). P.J. Phillips (LAA) was the next to reach when Laird muffed a throw from third baseman Mike Moustakas (KCR), allowing Singleton to score. Michael Brenly (CHC) then knocked a single off of pitcher Mike Parisi (STL), and Ryan Mount (LAA) followed with a single that deflected off of second baseman Descalso which scored Brenly for Mesa's third run. Mount promptly stole second and Greg Burns (FLA) walked, which allowed Peterson to clear the bases on his sixth double of the AFL season and give the Solar Sox a commanding 6-1 lead.

The Rafters tacked on a run in the bottom half of the fourth as Colin Curtis (NYY) hit a lead-off double and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored when Daryl Jones (STL) grounded out to first. The score stood at 6-2 and signaled the end of Bierd's day. He pitched 4.0 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits walking 1 and striking out 1 to pick up his third win. Surprise would add two more runs in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Moustaskas and an RBI single by Curtis, but it wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.

Richie Lentz earned his third hold of the fall campaign by pitching a scoreless seventh inning to lower his ERA to 0.71. The Solar Sox play these same Surprise Rafters this afternoon at 2:35 EST.

Player of the Night: Randor Bierd, who picked up his team-leading third victory by pitching 4.0 innings allowing 2 runs.