ST. GEORGE – Dixie State closed the 2018 season in dramatic fashion with a pair of walk-off wins in a Senior Day doubleheader sweep of No. 18 California Baptist, 9-8 and 15-13, on Thursday afternoon at Bruce Hurst Field. The Trailblazers took three of four from the Lancers in the series, all in walk-off fashion, to finish the year 25-25 overall, 21-19 in their final season of Pacific West Conference play.
In game one, DSU raced out to a quick 6-1 lead after three innings, plating two runs in the first on a Logan Porter (Surprise, Ariz./Valley Vista HS) two-run double, followed by an Alec Flemetakis RBI-fly out in the second. Then after CBU (33-17/26-14 PacWest) broke through with a run in the third, the Trailblazers struck for three more runs in the home half of the frame, with two of those runs coming on a Lancer error, which gave DSU its five-run cushion.
CBU rallied with one run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to trim the deficit to 6-4, but Porter would strike again in the home seventh with his team-leading sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot off the scoreboard in left center, which extended the DSU advantage to 8-4.
The Lancers mounted one last charge in the ninth, loading the bases with no outs on their way to scoring four runs, with the tying run coming on a two-out wild pitch, to knot the score at 8-8.
However that would only delay the Trailblazer celebration briefly as Gabe Taylor singled to lead off the home ninth and would advance to second on a Brody Clifford bunt. Following a Porter intentional walk, Tyler Hollow laced a 2-0 pitch through the left side to bring Taylor home and end the game.
Porter had a memorable penultimate game as the senior was a triple away from the cycle, going 4 for 4 overall with two doubles, four RBIs and two runs scored. Joe Raymond and Taylor also chipped in two base hits as DSU outhit CBU 12-11 in the game.
Senior lefthander Matt Mosca (ND) pitched into the fifth and scattered eight hits and four runs in 4.2 innings with four strikeouts. Mosca’s (103 career Ks) first punch out of the day, which came in the second inning, was his 100th-career strikeout, making him the sixth player in DSU’s NCAA era to reach the 100-strikeout plateau. Meanwhile DSU’s defense, which committed five errors in the game two loss to CBU on Wednesday, bounced back to turn four double plays, including three behind Mosca in the early going.
In the seven-inning nightcap, the Trailblazers erased a 2-0 second-inning deficit with one swing of the bat thanks to an Alec Flemetakis grand slam home run, his fifth homer of the year and first collegiate slam, which staked his side to a 4-2 lead.
CBU came back with a run in the third, only to see Dixie State counter with two more runs in the home third and another in the fourth to extend to a 7-3 cushion. Jake Davison and Flemetakis each collected RBIs in the third, while Porter drove in his fifth run of the day with a single one frame later.
That lead would not last long, though, as the Lancers erupted for seven runs in the fifth, sending 13 batters to the plate in the rally, en route to their first lead of the day at 10-7. DSU stayed within striking distance with single runs in the fifth and sixth frames, but California Baptist looked to be in control heading into the bottom of the seventh with a 13-9 advantage.
Dixie State would have other ideas, however, as the Trailblazers made their final offensive frame of the season a memorable one, beginning by loading the bases with no outs on hits from Jagun Leavitt and Taylor sandwiched around a Raymond walk. Porter then flew out to left field, which allowed Leavitt to score and advanced Raymond to third.
Clifford then stepped up and belted the first pitch he saw from CBU reliever Jorge Valerio deep over the left field wall to tie the game at 13-13. Then, following a walk to Kyle Hoffman and two pitching changes, Bryce Feist ended DSU’s season in style with a walk-off, two-run homer to left center, which led to a boisterous celebration at home plate.
DSU finished with 13 hits, with Flemetakis leading the way with his second career three-hit game to go with a career-best five RBIs, while Davison collected two hits and drove in two runs in his final home game. Taylor (W, 5-5) wound up picking up both wins on the day after coming on from his right field spot to record the final outs in each game. Meanwhile, CBU employed a Dixie State opponent season-high 10 pitchers in Thursday’s finale, including seven from the fifth inning on.
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