ST. GEORGE – Courtney Hine, Kylee Bufton and Anna Cue combined for 10 hits and 11 runs knocked in Friday afternoon in leading the Dixie State softball team to a 14-5 victory over Hawai’i Hilo in five innings during opening day action of the 2013 NCAA West 2 Regional at Karl Brooks Field.
The Red Storm (38-12), hosting their second West Regional tournament since 2009, will face Cal State Dominguez Hills on Saturday at 11 a.m. for the right to advance to Championship Sunday. The Toros outlasted Sonoma State, 1-0, in a pitcher’s duel earlier in the day.
Hawai’i Hilo scored three runs on four hits off DSU starter Michelle Duncan, but the Red Storm rebounded with a five-run first inning.
“We knew there was a lot of game left,” head coach Randy Simkins said. “We also knew that we could score some runs and had to not put up a dry inning.”
Hine lined the first of her four hits to center to spark the rally. Johnna Brown drew a walk and Bufton (4 for 4, four RBI) doubled to left, scoring Hine. Following a walk to Siera Phillips, Cue doubled home a pair with a shot to the wall in right. Courtney Sherwin followed with a two-run single.
The duo of Hine and Bufton extended the Dixie State lead to 6-3. Hine doubled with one out and scored on Bufton’s single to center field.
Hilo (39-18) trimmed the advantage to one with a pair of unearned runs in the fourth inning. But like previous frames, DSU answered the Vulcan spurt. Hine again acted as the catalyst with a single, Brown walked and Bufton loaded the bases with an infield hit. Phillips lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to plate Hine and Cue lined a double to center field for two more runs.
DSU loaded the bags in the fifth. This time Hine provided the run-scoring pop with a bases clearing double to put the Red Storm at the cusp of victory. Two batters later, with Hine on third, Bufton knew she needed to lift a ball into the outfield.
“She’s (Hine) pretty quick, so I needed to just get one in play,” Bufton said. “I saw my pitch and I tried to hit is as hard as I could.”
The result of her swing landed just beyond the left field wall for a game-ending home run.
Jaelle Judkins and Marla Reiter also had multi-hit games for Dixie State.
Duncan earned the win (19-2) in the circle for Dixie State. She allowed five runs – three earned – on seven hits while fanning four.
Hannah Peterson fell for just the second time this year – scattering six runs on six hits in 1.1 innings. Pacific West Conference Player of the Year Rebecca Lee had two hits leading the Vulcans.
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