RIVERSIDE, Calif. – No. 10 Dixie State staved off elimination in the NCAA West Regional with a four-run rally in the eighth inning to come from behind and knock off Cal State-East Bay 6-4 Friday.
“When they pulled ahead of us in the bottom of the seventh our guys did not panic,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “Our players were coming back to the dugout and sharing information about what pitches they were seeing. We stayed in the game and put together five consecutive productive at-bats that won the game for us.”
The Pioneers scored first, getting a run across in the bottom of the fourth. The lead was short-lived though, as DSU responded in the next half inning with two runs. Trey Kamachi and Jerome Hill got aboard with a walk and a hit by pitch. Jake Davison then laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners to scoring position. Davison got the bunt down even though he already had two strikes. “Jake (Davison) has great control of the bat,” said Pfatenhauer. “We did not hesitate staying with the call for him to lay down the bunt. Their infielders were not expecting it and had backed off.”
After Davison moved the runners, Tanner Morache drove the ball on the first pitch through the left side, scoring both runners. The hit broke Morache out of a mini slump. He had struggled in the first game of the tournament. “He’s our guy,” said Pfatenhauer. “He is our team leader. You will see some more of that in the next couple of games.” The Trailblazers led 2-1 after five.
The Pioneers came alive once again in the bottom of the seventh. A two-run shot followed up later by a sacrifice fly put three runs on the board and gave CSU-EB a 4-2 lead. But again, DSU quickly responded. McLaughlin began the one-out rally with a single to left. Sam Hall followed that up with an infield single to second base. After a bitching change Ryan Rodriguez rocked a double to right center field to score McLaughlin. Miles Bice then sacrificed to center field to score the tying run. With two outs Trey Kamachi singled to center field to score Rodriguez and give DSU the lead. Jerome Hill II then doubled to left center to score Kamachi. Hill was called out on the play trying to stretch the hit to a triple. But the insurance run crossed first to give Dixie State a 6-4 lead.
Kolton Brost came in for starter Mason Hilty to retire the three batters in the eighth. Spencer Greer then recorded his eighth save by retiring three of the four batters he faced in the final stanza.
Hilty got the win to move to 10-1. He held CSU-EB to seven hits, striking out three.
Offensively, McLaughlin and Hall led DSU with two hits apiece. Five separate players collected RBIs with Morache leading the way with his two-run single.
Dixie State will now advance to play in another elimination game against No. 5 seed CS Monterey Bay game on Saturday at 3 p.m. (PT), at Totman Stadium. The game is a rematch of the first game of the tournament when CSU-MB upset the Trailblazers 6-3.
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