ST. GEORGE – Dixie State split its first pair of games against PacWest newcomer Concordia University on Saturday. The doubleheader was started on Friday, but after several rain delays, the end of the first game was rescheduled to Saturday. The Trailblazers lost in the first game, but rebounded with a win in the second.
Concordia 8, Dixie State 5
After DSU took a 4-0 lead after two innings, the Lady Eagles would outscore the Blazers 7-1 over the next three. Janessa Bassett was again impressive for Dixie State, homering in her first at bat and hitting a two-RBI double in the second inning. For the game, she went 4 for 5. Shelby Yung also had muliple hits, going 2 for 4.
“It was a tough game,” said Dixie State head coach Randy Simkins. “When you play the top hitting team in the region, you have to play error-free ball. We gave them too many opportunities.”
Dixie State 9, Concordia 6
The Trailblazers exploded in the second inning — putting up eight runs — and then made spectacular defensive plays to make the lead hold.
Trailing 2-0 entering the second inning, Brooklyn Beardshear began the inning by hitting a single to shortstop. Dani Bartholf followed with a single to center field to put runners at first and second. Kristie Johnson then laid down a sacrifice bunt but reached on a fielding error to load the bases. Josey Hartman then reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a throwing error that scored Beardshear and Bartholf.
Concordia intentionally walked Bassett to load the bases. Yung then drew a walk to score Johnson. Arista Honey then grounded out to shortstop, but scored Hartman in the process. Autumn Woodfall singled to left field to score Bassett and move Yung to third. Mallory Paulson then bunt-singled to score Yung and put runners at first and second. Beardshear then reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a throwing error. Both Woodfall and Paulson scored on the play. Concordia got the next two batters out to strand Beardshear, but DSU held an 8-2 advantage.
Concordia scored a run in the third and three more in the fifth to pull within 8-6. A diving catch on a line drive to center field by Bassett kept the Eagles from tying the score in the fifth.
“I have seen that so often that I am just not shocked any more,” said Simkins. “She makes the same plays in practice. Teams don’t send their runners anymore because Bassett not only gets to the ball quickly but has a great arm and has thrown runners out.”
“When the ball was hit, I just reacted to it,” said Bassett. “I remember thinking as I was running to it that I had a shot to catch it. I knew if I missed that Kristie (Johnson) would back me up.”
DSU scored an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Woodfall’s single to third base got past the infielder and scored a speedy Hartman from second base. Hartman then ended the game in the top of the seventh on an unassisted double play.
Feickert got the win from the circle to go 20-4 on the year. Yung led the team with three hits. Woodfall and Paulson each collected two hits apiece.
The team celebrated senior day. DSU will graduate Feickert, Woodfall and Johnson. All three have been integral parts of this year’s team success. Johnson was inserted into the starting lineup this year after playing a limited role as a spot hitter/runner the previous three years.
“I think I have a different perspective,” said Johnson. “I sat behind some really great players. It feels good to be able to contribute a lot more this year, but also to tell the younger players that do not see as much playing time that they will be rewarded in one or two years.”
Dixie State moves to 35-12 with the split and 23-7 in the PacWest. The Blazers were eliminated from the PacWest title contention when Azusa Pacific swept Cal Baptist on Friday to win the title outright. Concordia moves to 41-12 overall and 22-8 in conference play. The teams will play their second double-header Sunday. The first game is scheduled for 11 a.m.
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