ST. GEORGE – So much for being rusty. After taking nearly two weeks off of competition, Dixie State returned to action Friday and looked sharp with a doubleheader sweep over Cal State University, Los Angeles, 17-9 and 7-0.
It was a break from conference play for the Red Storm baseball team at Bruce Hurst Field. After a slow start the Dixie bats started connecting as the Red Storm overwhelmed the Golden Eagles in the first game before pitcher John Conquy put on a pitching clinic in the nightcap.
In the first game, CSULA jumped out to a 4-1 lead behind some good pitching by Ryan Santhon. Santhon held the DSU bats to just two hits and one run scored by Yuto Kata on a sacrifice by Ty Johnson.
The lead would not last long, however, as the Red Storm hits poked holes in the Eagles defense. In the bottom of the fourth inning, Dixie put up 10 runs. After striking out Tyler Blair, Santhon walked three and allowed four hits before being replaced with Chris Oropesa. By that time Dixie had a 6-4 lead. Oropesa immediately gave up a walk and a single to Blair, scoring Austin Bartleson. Then, with the bases loaded, Kris Kaplan rocked the ballpark with a grand slam to give Dixie a formidable 11-4 lead.
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Dixie added five more runs in the fifth, highlighted by Blair’s two-run shot down the left field line. CSULA did put up four more runs in later innings, but the game proved to be out of reach as the final score ended with an eight-run margin, 17-9.
Bronson Anderson got the victory in relief, moving his season record to 2-2. Santhon got the loss and fell to 2-4.
In the second game, Dixie State pitcher Conquy went the full nine innings, holding the Golden Eagles scoreless and allowing only three hits. Conquy struck out seven and walked only one batter.
The Dixie State offense jumped out quickly in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs behind doubles from Drew McLaughlin and Blair.
The Red Storm added two runs each in both the fourth and sixth innings. Blair had a solo shot to left field in the fourth. Johnson batted in Donald Glover with a double to left field later in the inning. In the sixth, Johnson got another RBI by taking one for the team — getting hit by the pitcher with the bases loaded. Kaplan would score the final run of the game on a wild pitch by David Armas.
Conquy moves to 7-1 on the season. Greg Humbert took the loss, falling to 1-2. The sweep moves Dixie to 28-13 overall. The Storm remain atop the Pac West with a 20-4 league record. DSU has won 28 of its last 34 games after starting the season 0-7.
The Storm will have one more game against the Golden Eagles Saturday with an 11 a.m. start time. DSU will travel to Point Loma next week to resume conference play.
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