LA JOLLA, Calif. – An up and down game ended just in time for the Dixie State baseball team.
The Red Storm offense found some holes to mount a comeback from an early deficit, then the Dixie bullpen protected the difference in the late innings in a 6-5 elimination game victory over Sonoma State Friday in Southern California.
Kris Kaplan’s two-run double to right center in the fifth inning put Dixie State on top 4-3, but more importantly, sparked a four-run inning. Tyler Blair and Kaplan both scored on wild pitches to give Dixie some breathing room and put the Storm ahead 6-3.
“We had some breaks finally go our way with those two wild pitches,” said DSU head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “Those were big.”
Dixie got on the board first on a Blair single to right field, scoring Drew McLaughlin. However, the lead would not hold long as the Seawolves rocked starter Chance Abrath for three runs in the third inning. Ty Johnson would add a solo shot to left field in the fourth inning to pull Dixie to 3-2, before taking the lead in the fifth.
After the tumultuous beginning, Abrath found his groove and allowed only two hits over the next four innings. Sonoma State did add two more runs, one each in the top of the last two innings. Evan Parker closed out the ninth inning for his 13th save of the year to preserve Abrath’s eighth win against only one loss this year.
“Chance gave us some great pitching tonight,” Pfatenhauer said. “The bullpen made things exciting, but ultimately got us the win.”
Devin Alexander got the loss for Sonoma State, falling to 1-4. Dixie improves to 36-16 and will play its next game Saturday at 3 p.m. against Chico State, which beat the Red Storm in Thursday’s regional opener. Sonoma State’s loss in the elimination game ended their season with a 27-18 record.
Dixie’s 36 wins is a new single-season record since becoming Division II.
Stats: DSU 6, SSU 5
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