ST. GEORGE – After a perfect start to the season, Dixie State’s 2016 baseball squad is starting to take a few lumps. Thursday night, DSU opened conference play with a home loss to a quality Cal Baptist team, 5-4 in 10 innings at Bruce Hurst Field.
No. 9-ranked Dixie State could not overcome three California Baptist home runs and a couple of late-inning miscues as the Storm dropped to 12-3 overall and 0-1 in league.
Facing Cal Baptist closer Patrick Gonzales on a 3-2 count, down 5-4 with two outs and Trey Kamachi at first base, Dixie State’s all-PacWest second baseman Drew McLaughlin had a chance to finish the extra-inning game if he knocked one out of Bruce Hurst Field. Earlier in the count, he rocked a shot over 400 feet that fouled to the left. He connected and the ball went to center field, but was short of the fence by about 30 feet.
After starting the season 10-0, the Storm have dropped three of their last five.
“We have lost three 1-run games, two of those in extra innings to two nationally-ranked teams,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “That is what we want to do. We want to face the very best teams. The guy we faced tonight is the No. 1 professional prospect in Division II (Tyson Miller). We did pretty well against him (three runs, six hits).”
After dropping the first two games to No. 3 Colorado Mesa last week, the Storm rallied to take the next two games. Tonight’s game came against the Lancers, a co-favorite with the Storm to win the PacWest.
DSU starter Dylan File clearly gave his more-heralded counterpart a great pitching duel. The Desert Hills alum pitched seven innings, struck out five, gave up five hits and two runs. Miller gave up three runs on six hits in six innings. Two of those runs came on a shot by Cam Gust in the bottom of the sixth.
“He threw a slider to me earlier in the count,” said Gust. “When he threw it again, I was ready for it.”
The two runs added to one earlier scored by Tanner Morache in the third inning. That run came off a McLaughlin single up the middle.
File gave up two runs on two separate solo shots by A.J. David and Zack Norris in the sixth and seventh innings.
The tide turned for the Storm in the eighth inning. Relief pitcher Kolton Brost gave up a two-run shot to Stephen Lohr, giving CBU its first lead of the game 4-3. The Storm rallied in the ninth to tie the score. With two men aboard in the ninth, the Storm attempted a double steal. The catcher overthrew third base, allowing pinch runner Kade Cloward to score. Miles Bice was caught at second for the final out, but not before Cloward crossed home plate to knot the score at 4-4.
In the top of the 10th, the Lancers Tyler Johnson singled to right field. Lancer shortstop Andrew Montoya then laid down a bunt to advance the runner. Storm reliever Jeremy Alderman had a good jump on the ball, but as he reached down to field it, his leg slid out from under him allowing both runners to arrive safely.
Lancer first baseman Antonio Chavarria then sacrificed to third, advancing both runners. The Storm decided to intentionally walk the next batter, Lohr. But Alderman’s second pitch out went wild and scored Johnson to give CBU the 5-4 advantage. Lohr attempted to squeeze home Montoya, but Dixie State’s Reece Lucero chased him down, then threw out the runner at home for the second out. Alderman then struck out Lohr swinging.
The added run was enough, however, as DSU failed to match it. Alderman got his first loss of the season and falls to 1-1. Gonzales moves to 3-0 for the Lancers.
The two teams renew the series tomorrow with a doubleheader. Game one is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Stats: CBU 5, DSU 4 (F/10)
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