ST. GEORGE – Baseball and stormy weather do not make a good combination. But the Dixie State baseball team notched two more wins over the visiting Vulcans of Hawaii-Hilo Monday evening at Bruce Hurst Field. With a strong wind throughout both games of the doubleheader, routine pop flies turned into hits.
Dixie State 11, Hawaii-Hilo 5
In the first matchup, the Vulcans actually outhit the Red Storm 16-13. Through the first three innings. though. neither team could get a hit. The Vulcans got 10 hits against starter Dylan File in the fourth and fifth innings to put UH-H up 5-0.
“We obviously don’t like playing from behind,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “They were able to hit against File, which we did not expect. But File kept them close. That enabled us to come back on them.”
Jeremy Alderman relieved File in the sixth. In the bottom of that inning, the Storm not only came back. but zoomed ahead. The inning started with Trey Kamachi singling through the left side. Sam Hall then singled to right field. Ryan Rodriguez then homered to left center, making it 5-3.
“It was my third at bat,” said Rodriguez. “I did not do well the first two. I was looking for his fastball and got it on the first pitch.”
“That was big for us,” said Pfatenhauer. “It set the tone for the rest of that game and the second one.” Indeed, the Storm would collect 32 hits over the next 11 innings of baseball.
Still in the sixth, Bryce Feist hit a solo shot to left field with one out. Tyler Mildenberg then pinch hit for Jake Davison and was hit by pitch. Miles Bice doubled to center to score Mildenberg and tie the game at 5. Tanner Morache then singled through the right side to score Bice and the Storm had their first lead at 6-5.
Morache stole second, then advanced to third on a throwing error. Drew McLaughlin’s single through the left side scored Morache to give DSU a 7-5 lead. McLaughlin then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. Kamachi sacrificed to right field to score McLaughlin. That run gave the Storm an 8-5 lead before the Vulcans could get out of the inning.
The Storm scored three insurance runs in the eighth on three extra-base hits. Mildenberg tripled to start the inning. Morache sacrificed to score Mildenberg. McLaughlin doubled to left center. Then Kamachi homered to left field to score the final two.
Alderman got the win in relief to move to 2-1. Kamachi and Morache each had three hits.
Dixie State 20, Hawaii-Hilo 6
The nightcap was delayed an hour due to lightning. But once the game started, it became apparent that even though the weather had cooled (18 degrees in two hours), the Storm bats had not. Dixie State scored 14 runs in the first two innings. The scoring was capped by the second grand slam of the year for Kamachi in the second inning.
“We knew that we would come out strong,” said Pfatenhauer. “You have to be concerned when there is a delay, and we wanted to be sure that our starter (Mason Hilty) stayed loose. But offensively, we were on tonight.”
For the game, the Storm had 21 hits, a new season record. The scoreboard read 20-0 at the end of the sixth inning. The seventh inning saw several lineup changes at almost every position.
“We got some freshmen into the game,” said Pfatenhauer. “We have talented underclassmen and any experience they can get is valuable.”
Over the last three innings, the Vulcans got on the board, taking advantage of some late fielding errors by the Storm, putting up six runs.
Hilty pitched five scoreless innings to get the win and improve to 6-0. Fifteen different players batted for the Storm. Reece Lucero led the team, going 4 for 4 at the plate. Rodriguez collected three hits.
The Storm move to 22-6 on the year and 10-4 in the PacWest. Hawaii-Hilo falls to 4-19 overall, 3-17 in the PacWest. The two teams resume their series Tuesday afternoon with another doubleheader. The first game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.
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