SAN DIEGO — No. 13 Dixie State rode a pair of strong pitching performances from Dylan File and Mason Hilty Saturday as the Storm clinched a four-game Pacific West Conference series split with Point Loma Nazarene Saturday in San Diego, Calif. File pitched eight solid innings to help lead the Storm to a 5-2 win in the opener, while Hilty became the first DSU pitcher in the program’s NCAA Division II era to win his first eight decisions as Dixie State blanked the Sea Lions in the finale, 4-0.
Dixie State (30-8/18-6 PacWest) led wire-to-wire in game one as the Storm plated a run in the first inning on a Trey Kamachi RBI-single, followed by a Tyler Mildenberg run-scoring bunt-single on a squeeze play that brought home pinch runner Trey Reineke in the seventh inning. DSU added three more runs in the ninth as Tanner Morache walked and Drew McLaughlin singled to bring up Kamachi, who drilled his team-high tying fifth home run of the season over the right field wall to stake the Storm to a 5-0 advantage.
Meanwhile File (W, 4-0) was dominant in the early going as he fanned the first four Sea Lions he faced and limited Point Loma to just three hits through eight innings. However File’s bid for his first nine-inning complete game of the season came to an abrupt end in the ninth as he walked the first batter he faced and Sea Lion catcher Mike Gordner followed with a two-run homer to spoil the shutout bid and cut the Storm lead to 5-2. That would be as close as Point Loma would get as senior closer Spencer Greer (S, 4) came on to record the final three outs in the frame to secure the win.
Dixie State pounded out 10 hits in the opener, with Kamachi leading the way with three hits to go with his four RBI, while Ryan Rodriguez collected two safeties. File finished with six strikeouts though he did give up five walks in eight-plus innings of work in picking up his fourth win of the year.
The Storm wasted little time opening the scoring in the nightcap as Morache led off the game with a double and would come home on senior Samuel Hall’s team-high tying fifth home run of the year, which gave DSU a quick 2-0 lead. Miles Bice padded the Dixie State advantage with an RBI-single in the sixth and Hall extended the lead to 4-0 with a run-scoring double in the seventh.
Hilty (W, 8-0) made the early run support stand up as the junior hurled six shutout innings, though it was not easy. Hilty, whose only 1-2-3 inning came in the fifth, escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second and stranded two more PLNU base runners in the fourth.
Point Loma made one last charge in the seventh when Derek Slate reached on a lead-off walk, which spelled the end of the day for Hilty. Then after a pinch-hit single from Derek Rustich, Greer (S, 5) came on to record the final three outs, including a game-ending double play, to earn his second save of the day.
DSU collected 11 hits in the finale, including a 3-for-3 effort from Bice, while Hall finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, and McLaughlin and Rodriguez each had two hits.
Hilty struck out two and worked around five hits and five walks in picking up his milestone victory. With his eighth win of the year, Hilty moved into a tie atop DSU’s single-season wins list with current DSU pitcher Chance Abrath (2014) and former hurlers John Conquy (2014), Austin Christiansen (2013) and Justin Prodan (2010). Hilty also tied Abrath and Conquy’s school-record in winning his eighth-straight decision. Abrath and Conquy each won eight-straight decisions in 2014 after the pair opened that season 0-1.
Dixie State returns home for an eight-game homestand to wrap up its home portion of the 2016 regular season, beginning with a four-game series vs. Azusa Pacific next weekend at Bruce Hurst Field.
NOTES: Dixie State has won 12 of its last 14 games to reach the 30-win plateau for the eighth-straight season … DSU recorded its 30th win in game No. 38, which is the fastest the program has won 30 games in DSU’s NCAA Division II era … DSU’s series split at PLNU snapped a streak of four-straight series wins, which included three four-game sweeps … DSU’s shutout win in the finale is the Storm’s fourth of the season and third in the last 14 games overall … Saturday’s victory in the finale was also Head Coach Chris Pfatenhauer’s 130th in the DSU dugout … Saturday’s sweep also clinched a winning road record for DSU this season … DSU is currently 11-5 on the road in 2016 with four more regular season road games left … DSU has now won at least 10 road games in each of the last seven seasons overall … DSU has scored at least one run in all 38 games this season and has reached double figures in hits in 26 games.
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