ST. GEORGE – Dixie State swept Friday’s doubleheader against Hawaii Pacific employing two very different methods. Using the short game in the opener, the Trailblazers eked out a win decided by the final play of the game, before blowing out the Sharks with the hitting game in the nightcap.
Dixie State 4, Hawaii Pacific 3
The Trailblazers put up one run in four consecutive innings, then held on for the final four innings to get the slim victory. DSU catcher Reece Lucero hit a two-out single through the right side to score Ryan Rodriguez to start the scoring in the second inning.
The Sharks knotted things up in the top of the third. Dixie State reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the inning. Tanner Morache reached on a fielding error and then scored later in the inning when Sam Hall hit into a fielder’s choice.
In the fourth inning, DSU’s Jerome Hill II began the inning with an infield hit to the shortstop. Miles Bice then laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Hill to second. Hill continued to third and would then score on the play when HPU’s first baseman overthrew third base. The DSU lead was 3-1.
The Sharks put up a second run in the top of the fifth. Dixie State made it 4-2 when Hall hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Morache. Hawaii Pacific scored its third run in the top of the seventh.
In the top of the ninth inning, Hawaii Pacific would threaten. Relief pitcher Spencer Greer struck out the first batter. After a single put the tying run on first, Greer got the next batter to line out to left field. However, the next batter singled through the right side to put runners on first and second. The next batter then singled through the right side, advancing the runners. The HPU base coach sent the runner home, but Trey Kamachi’s throw from right field caught the runner in time for the final out.
“We got great production from the top of our lineup,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “We played the short game really well. We laid down good bunts to move our runners.”
Dylan File got the win on the mound to improve to 5-1. File pitched six and two-thirds innings, gave up eight hits, walked three and struck out two. Greer got the save for his seventh of the year.
Dixie State 11, Hawaii Pacific 4
The second game was far different than the first. The Dixie offense lit up the game with 11 runs on 13 hits through the first six innings. Mason Hilty gave up one run to the Sharks in the first inning, but then scattered six hits over the next five innings to hold the Sharks scoreless.
Hilty set a DSU record for season wins with his ninth of the year.
“I have had a pretty good year,” said the College of Southern Idaho transfer. “I really did not expect to have the success I have had this year. I have really benefited from my teammates’ play. They are very good defensively and I have had great run support.”
In the first inning, Drew McLaughlin hit a solo shot to left center to tie the game at 1-1. The Trailblazers took the lead before the inning ended when Rodriguez doubled to right center, scoring Kamachi, who had walked earlier in the inning.
In the second, Bice got on base after being hit by pitch. He was moved to second when Jake Davison bunt-sacrificed. Bice then advanced to third and later scored on two Shark wild pitches. Later in the inning, McLaughlin had his second extra-base hit when he doubled in Morache to give DSU a 4-1 advantage.
The Trailblazers exploded for four runs in the third. Hall began the inning with a walk and later advanced to second on a passed ball. Hill then singled to center field to score Hall. Bice then singled to center field advancing Hill to third. Davison then singled to left field to score Hill. Davison advanced to second on the throw to home. With players on second and third Bryce Feist singled through the left side scoring Bice. Morache then drew a walk to load the bases. McLaughlin then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Davison. The score had climbed to 8-1 after three.
In the fifth inning, the Sharks got the first two DSU batters to line out. Morache and McLaughlin then hit back-to-back doubles. Kamachi followed up with a single to score McLaughlin and the DSU lead grew to 10-1. The Trailblazers scored their final run of the inning when Davison singled in Hill in the bottom of the sixth to put the lead at 11-1.
The Sharks would put up three runs over the next two innings, but never seriously threatened as they did in the first game.
Hilty pitched six innings, allowed eight hits and one run. He struck out six and walked only one. “Mason pitched very well,” said Pfatenhauer. “Our starting pitching was good in both games.”
With the win, Dixie State moves to 34-8 overall and remains firmly entrenched in second place at 22-8 in the PacWest. Hawaii Pacific falls to 27-17 overall and 17-15 in conference play, falling from fourth to sixth.
The Trailblazers resume their series with HPU Saturday with another doubleheader. It will be DSU’s final home games of the year and the team will celebrate Senior Day for the final game. Game time for the first game is set for 2 p.m.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.