ST. GEORGE – No. 18 Dixie State dropped a 6-0 decision to No. 2 Chico State on Thursday in the 2018 NCAA Division II West Super Regional opener at Karl Brooks Field.
The Trailblazers (41-9) saw multiple opportunities to swing the momentum in their favor, but managed just three hits and left seven runners on base, suffering just their second shutout of the season in the process.
Dixie State placed two runners on base in the top of the first when Bailey Gaffin and Kenzie Sawyer drew back-to-back walks. But a groundout to shortstop on the next at-bat ended the threat.
Chico State looked to take an early lead, moving a runner to third in the bottom of the first. But Cambrie Hazel forced a groundout to Dani Bartholf at third to escape the inning unscathed.
Kori Gahn drew a leadoff walk in the top of the second and was set to advance when Riley Tyteca smashed a ball up the middle. However, Chico State pitcher Haley Gilham snared the line drive and fired to first base for a double play.
The Wildcats broke through in the bottom of the second, scoring a pair of runs on four hits to take a 2-0 lead. DSU was able to minimize the damage, using a pop up to second and a groundout back to the circle to strand three Chico base runners.
The Trailblazers saw a golden opportunity to respond in the top of the third. After a leadoff groundout, Janessa Bassett and Brenna Hinck each singled to put two runners on with only one out. But they would get no further, as a strikeout and a groundout ended the inning, and the Wildcats maintained their 2-0 lead.
Chico State added two runs in both the third and fourth inning to extend the lead to 6-0.
Dixie State saw its final chance to chip away at the lead slip away in the top of the fifth, placing two runners on base with just one out. But like the third inning, a strikeout and a groundout ended the threat.
Kaitlyn Delange singled in the top of the seventh, but the game ended on the next at-bat with a groundout to second base.
Bassett, Delange, and Hinck recorded one hit each to account for DSU’s three hits. Hazel (19-4) suffered her first loss in nearly a month, allowing seven hits in 3.2 innings pitched. Alexandria Melendez was solid in relief, allowing just one hit with one strikeout in 2.1 innings pitched.
Dixie State will now need to defeat Chico State twice on Friday to advance to the College World Series. Game two of the three-game series is set for a 1 p.m. start. The if-necessary game will follow at 3:30 p.m. if the Trailblazers win game two.
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