ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State baseball team used good pitching and an explosive inning in each game of a doubleheader to sweep the Academy of Art University Saturday. The Red Storm improved to 20-8, winning 20 out of their last 21 games with scores of 11-4 and 10-6 over the Urban Knights.
In total, the Red Storm outscored AAU 48-14 over the four game series. They lead the PacWest with a 15-1 conference record, three and a half games ahead of Point Loma.
“There are still a lot of conference games left,” said Pfatenhauer. “We have 16 more and they are all against the front runners.” Dixie State still has the teams sitting in second through fifth on the schedule.
In game one, the visitors did jump out to a 3-0 start after two innings. Dixie pulled to 3-2 in a two-run fifth inning. Yuto Kata scored on Austin Nelson’s single to center field to open the Storm’s scoring. Gentry Hatch scored later in the inning on a sacrifice fly from Drew McLaughlin.
In the top of the sixth, the Urban Knights added another run on a fielding error by the Storm. In the bottom of the sixth, the Dixie bats came alive. Trey Kamachi reached on a dropped fly ball. After stealing second, Kamachi scored on a Kevin Kline single up the middle. Donald Glover singled and advanced Kline to third. Kline then scored on a fielding error. Kata singled to load the bases. Hatch’s single to third base scored Glover. Miles Bice drew a walk to score Zach Watts. Tanner Morache sacrificed to center field to score Kata. McLaughlin then doubled to left field, scoring Bice and Hatch. Kline then knocked in McLaughlin on a single to center field. After six, the score was 10-4.
Morache’s RBI single in the seventh knocked in Hatch to complete the scoring. Tanner Howell got the win in relief.
In the second game, Sam Hall hit a booming grand slam home run in the fifth inning to break a 3-3 tie. “That is what we brought Sam here to do,” said Pfatenhauer. “He has not had the batting success we hoped for, but he is always a threat to hit the deep ball.”
The Storm added three more in the fifth on hits from Kata, Bice and McLaughlin. The Urban Knights did add three in the top of the sixth to get to the final tally of 10-6.
“Drew (McLaughlin) is not only hitting the ball well, he is making the big hits in pressure situations,” said Pfatenhauer. “He comes through for us consistently.”
Conquy got the win to improve to 3-0.
AAU came to St. George going in the other direction and have now lost 10 straight. They move to 5-24 overall, 3-13 in the PacWest.
“We were able to capitalize on their mistakes,” said Pfatenhauer. “We had seven errors, matching theirs. That is very uncharacteristic for us. But we were able to turn their mistakes into runs.”
The Storm head to Fresno next weekend with a four-game series against Fresno Pacific beginning Thursday. They will return home for a four-game series against Cal Baptist beginning April 9. Gametime on Thursday is 6 p.m.
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