ST. GEORGE – Dixie State scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to grab an 8-2 lead over visiting Azusa Pacific. However the Cougars scored 10 straight over the next three innings to pull out a 12-9 victory. The loss snapped the Red Storm’s 13-game win streak and also tightened the standings for the top-leading teams of the Pac West Conference.
Dixie had jumped out to a five-game advantage in the standings over the second-place Cougars. Despite a pair of solo home runs from Kris Kaplan, the Red Storm lost the opener of the four-game series.
APU starter Josh Staumont had a rough go against the Red Storm batters as Dixie scored eight runs (seven earned) over 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings. Drew McLaughlin brought in the first two runs in the second inning singling to short. Daniel Martin’s errant throw to first allowed Ty Johnson to follow Tyler Blair across home plate.
Kaplan, who finished 3-5, with 3 RBIs hit the first of his two solo shots with two outs in the third for a 3-0 Red Storm lead. APU sliced the lead to 3-2 in the top of the fourth inning. The Dixie offense lit up the Cougars in the bottom half. Mike Umscheid capped the scoring with a single to center field, scoring Kaplan and Kevin Kline.
In the top of the fifth Dixie starter Chance Abrath surrendered five consecutive hits that led to five runs. Kevin Dorantes relieved him but was not able to stanch the Cougar onslaught. Sean Aspinall scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error by Dixie catcher Johnson. The Cougars would add one more before Dixie pitcher Bronson Anderson could get them out of the inning.
APU added two more in the top of the seventh. The Red Storm would try to rally in the bottom of the inning. After Kaplan led off with his second home run of the evening, the next three batters failed to reach base.
Azusa Pacific moved to 19-10, 12-5 in the Pac West where they sit solidly in second place, 2 ½ games ahead of Point Loma. Dixie State remains atop the Pac West but falls to 24-12 overall, 18-3 in conference play.
Bill Sanford earned the win in relief while Martinez tabbed his fifth save.
Kevin Dorantes took his first loss of the year, falling to 3-1.
The teams return to Bruce Hurst Field on Friday for a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m.
Stats: APU 12, DSU 9
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