D-M edges Luke 10-9 in baseball rivalry game

Davis-Monthan Mustangs starting pitcher Travis Sanford prepares to deliver a pitch during the June 8 rivalry game between D-M and the Luke Air Force Base Fighting Falcons at Tucson Electric Park. Sanford pitched five innings and went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, a single and two RBI. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia D. Goosic)

Davis-Monthan Mustangs starting pitcher Travis Sanford prepares to deliver a pitch during the June 8 rivalry game between D-M and the Luke Air Force Base Fighting Falcons at Tucson Electric Park. Sanford pitched five innings and went 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, a single and two RBI. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia D. Goosic)

Davis-Monthan Mustangs left fielder Ryan Clements runs to second base during the June 8 rivalry game between Luke and D-M at Tucson Electric Park. Clements was 3-for-4 in the game with a double and two singles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia D. Goosic)

Davis-Monthan Mustangs left fielder Ryan Clements runs to second base during the June 8 rivalry game between Luke and D-M at Tucson Electric Park. Clements was 3-for-4 in the game with a double and two singles. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia D. Goosic)

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Davis-Monthan Mustangs added another win to their record by defeating the Luke Air Force Base Fighting Falcons, 10-9, June 8 at Tucson Electric Park.

Although he began the game as the third baseman, it was thanks to the no-run pitching of Timothy Villaran in the sixth inning that the team was able to pull ahead and hold off the Fighting Falcons for the duration of the game, said Jorge Rodriguez, Mustangs team manager.

The Mustangs began the game shakily on defense, allowing the Fighting Falcons three first-inning runs to light up the scoreboard. In the bottom of the first, Mustangs left fielder Ryan Clements led off with a double. After a succession of singles and doubles by shortstop Daniel Hanamoto, pitcher Travis Sanford, right fielder David Yardley and centerfielder Heath Curless, D-M finished the first inning trailing 3-2.

The next inning proved more successful for the Mustang defense as they answered back with a double play by Hanamoto and Clements for a quick two outs. A line drive caught by third baseman Villaran called for a wrap to the Falcon offensive.

To start off the bottom of the second inning, second baseman Anthony Rieck hit a double, scoring two runs and bringing the score to a 4-3 D-M lead. By the time the second inning ended, the Mustangs had added two more runs.

The two teams then traded runs, making the score 7-4, before two errors and three walks by the Mustangs allowed the Fighting Falcons to even the score at seven apiece at the end of the fourth.

After the stellar pitching from Villaran, the Mustangs found new life in the bottom of the sixth. Clements singled and later scored on a double by Hanamoto, who then scored on a single from Sanford. Yardley kept the rally going with another single, bringing pinch-hitter A.J. Valentin home. With two outs looming, D-M scored three more runs, capping the sixth with a momentum-heavy 10-7 lead.

Luke wasn't finished yet, however. They scored two more runs in the top of the seventh - and loaded the bases - before Mustangs alternate pitcher Kyle Gustavson struck out the final Falcons batter, sealing the 10-9 D-M victory.

Rodriguez said camaraderie and chemistry are strengths of the team, which definitely aided in their victory.

"The togetherness we have on the team is one of our greatest strengths this season," he explained. "We all get along well. Everyone knows their role and is very supportive of one another."

The Mustangs next face off against The Maulers, June 15 at Reid Park.

For more information on the team schedule, contact Staff Sgt. Jorge Rodriguez at jorge.rodriguez@dm.af.mil.