ST. GEORGE — The 2016 season is turning into something special for the Dixie State baseball team, and right in the middle of it all is Sam Hall.
The senior first baseman had 11 RBIs in two games as the Red Storm blew past Fresno Pacific 15-3 and 10-1 in a doubleheader sweep Friday at Bruce Hurst Field. Batting clean-up, Hall had six hits in nine at-bats, including a double and a homer in the first game and a triple and a grand slam in the second game.
The slugging helped propel Dixie State to its eighth and ninth wins in a row and a 27-9 record.
Dixie State 15, Fresno Pacific 3
Hall got the first four RBIs of the game en route to a six-RBI performance. In the first inning, he doubled to right center to score Trey Kamachi and Drew McLaughlin. The next inning, his single to right field scored Tyler Mildenberg and Reece Lucero.
Later in the second, Morache scored on a passed ball to take the lead to 5-0. In the next inning, Miles Bice crossed the plate on a single by Lucero. That was followed up by a three-run home run from McLaughlin. At the end of three, the Storm held a commanding 9-0 lead.
“The attitude in the dugout was very different than yesterday’s series opener,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “It was more upbeat. You could feel the energy.”
Fresno got a run on the board in the top of the fifth. The answer from the Storm was six more runs in the bottom of the inning. Morache singled in Lucero to start the scoring. The next batter, McLaughlin, doubled down the left field line to score Mildenberg. Kamachi grounded out to second base but batted in Morache in the process. Hall then homered to right field to clear the bases and put the score at 14-1.
The Storm would load the bases again in the fifth. Lucero then singled to right center to score the runner from third, Ryan Rodriguez.
Fresno Pacific would score two more runs in the sixth to get to the final margin. Jeremy Alderman pitched five innings, and scattered five hits to get the win. In addition to Hall’s six RBIs, McLaughlin had four. Five Storm players had multiple hits led by McLaughlin’s and Hall’s three apiece.
Dixie State 10, Fresno Pacific 1
The Sunbirds put up their only run in the first inning for their only lead of the day. It was short-lived however, as the Storm racked up seven runs over the first two innings and then scored at least one run in three of the four remaining at-bats.
Hall continued his storybook day, adding five more RBIs for a total of 11 on the day. Hall also was one hit away from hitting for the cycle in both games. In the first, he lacked a triple. In the second game, he needed a double. No DSU player has ever completed hitting for the cycle in the Division II era.
“I can’t believe I hit that triple,” he said. “I have not hit a triple since little league.”
Hall’s triple down the right field line batted in Kamachi and scored DSU’s first run. Jerome Hill II followed that up with a single to center field to score Hall giving the Storm a 2-1 lead after one.
In the second, Dixie State loaded the bases. Hall ripped a grand slam to right center, scoring Kamachi, Morache and Bice. Later in the inning, Hill singled to center field to score Rodriguez for a 7-1 Storm advantage.
FPU never threatened as starting pitcher Kolton Brost went the distance and gave up only four hits in seven innings. The run scored in the first was unearned.
“This was Kolton’s first start of the year,” said Pfatenhauer. “He pitched a great game. Except for some errors that we still need to clean up, we had complete performances in both games with the bats and from the mound.”
Brost improves to 2-0. Hall and Hill led the Storm with three hits apiece. Rodriguez and Morache joined Hall with extra base hits. Rodriguez had a triple and Morache hit a double.
Hall, who struggled last year offensively after transferring from Western Nevada, is hitting the ball over 100 points higher (.357) and has already surpassed his hits totals from last year.
“I had to adjust to a new position last year and that was difficult for me,” he said. “But I have settled in better this year. I feel real good about my teammates and the coaches. Overall, I am having a much better year.”
The Storm have won nine straight and improve to 27-6 overall and 15-4 in the PacWest. FPU falls to 8-10 in the PacWest and 13-19 overall. The teams conclude their series with an afternoon game beginning at noon.
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