AZUSA, Calif. – The No. 18 Dixie State softball team dropped both games of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader to Azusa Pacific in heartbreaking fashion. The Red Storm (13-7, 1-3 PacWest) fell 4-3 in 10 innings in Game One after batting back to tie the score at 3-3. DSU built a 6-1 lead in Game Two, only to see it evaporate as APU scored eight runs in the sixth inning to claim a 9-6 victory.
Azusa Pacific built a 3-0 lead in Game One with an RBI single in the bottom of the first inning and a two-run home run in the bottom of the third.
Dixie State threatened to score in each inning but the second, but didn’t break through until Janessa Bassett blasted a double to left field in the top of the sixth inning, scoring Mallory Paulson and Kristie Johnson. Bassett then scored from second on the play, taking advantage of a fielding error by the left fielder. With one swing of the bat, the game was tied at 3-3.
The teams remained deadlocked, needing three extra innings to determine a winner. With the game still tied at 3-3, the conference tiebreaker rule was employed in the top of the 10th inning, with each team placing a runner on second base to start the inning.
Johnson started on second for DSU and advanced to third, but was eventually stranded, moving the Storm’s runners left on base total to 16 for the game.
The Cougars placed Illiana Jiminez on second in the bottom half of the 10th inning, who promptly stole third base during the first at-bat of the inning. The next batter lined out to Alexis Barkwell in the pitcher’s circle, prompting DSU to intentionally walk the next two batters to load the bases and gain a possible force out at any base. But the next batter laid down a bunt down the third base line, scoring Jiminez from third for the winning run.
Johnson (3-for-5) and Autumn Woodfall (2-for-3) led the DSU attack at the plate, while Barkwell took the loss in the pitcher’s circle, striking out two and giving up one run in five innings of works after taking over for Aryn Feickert in the fifth inning.
Anxious to erase the memory of the Game One loss, the Red Storm jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning of Game Two. Woodfall opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left field, bringing home Bassett from third. Jessica Gonzalez scored later when Paulson reached first base on an error, setting up an RBI single from Brooklyn Beardshear to score Paulson.
DSU added to the lead with one run in the top of the second inning when Josey Hartman scored after a Bassett single. APU answered with its first run in the bottom of the second on an RBI single.
Dixie State added what seemed to be two insurance runs in the top of the fourth inning when Woodfall and Shelby Yung each belted RBI singles. Leading 6-1, the Storm seemed poised to salvage a series split.
But APU had other plans, stringing together hits and taking advantage of an error in the bottom of the sixth to score eight runs and take a 9-6 lead heading into the final inning.
The Storm tried to respond, putting runners on the corners with two outs, but a strikeout ended the game and sent DSU home with its second consecutive heartbreaking loss.
Johnson again led the way for DSU at the plate, going 2-for-3 in the game to finish the day at 5-for-8. Beardshear took the loss in the pitcher’s circle to fall to 3-2 on the season.
Dixie State returns to Karl Brooks Field for a pair of doubleheaders vs. Hawaii Pacific next Saturday and Sunday, starting at Noon both days.
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