ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State baseball team suffered through a rough early loss 12-2 Saturday, but finally got a win against CBU in the nightcap in extra innings, 5-4 Friday at Bruce Hurst Field.
“That first game was probably the worst game we have played since I have been here at Dixie State,” said Storm head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “My postgame talk was also probably the worst that my teams have suffered through. When you come out listless against a great team, this is the result. It was good to see them bounce back in the second game. Hopefully tomorrow we complete the split.”
The second game required some late-game heroics to get to extra innings and then to get the win. Cam Gust came in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and down 4-3.
“It is difficult coming in cold,” said Gust. “I got the count to 3-2 and I expected to see his fast ball. That is what he threw, but it was inside. That surprised me. I adjusted though.”
The ball flew out deep to left, sacrificing home Drew McLaughlin for the tie.
After relief pitcher Sean Hardman retired the three batters he faced, the Storm were able to close out the game in the bottom of the eighth. After Jake Davison struck out, Miles Bice pinch hit and singled through the left side.
Tanner Morache then hit a high hopper just over the pitcher’s head. By the time the Lancer shortstop got to it, the runners had advanced. Trey Kamachi went down on strikes for the second out. McLaughlin was then hit by pitch to load the bases bringing up Trey Reineke, who had been inserted in the seventh as a pinch runner.
“Trey is one of our speed guys,” said Pfatenhauer. “He has also been hitting well for us this year. But we talked to him pregame about being patient. Getting deeper into the count.”
That is exactly what Reineke did, getting the count to 3-2.
“I knew he was going to throw a strike,” said Reineke. “He was not going to walk in the winning run. I just wanted to keep it on the ground. With the runners going I felt that even if it was fielded we had a good shot at scoring the winning run.”
Reineke’s grounder found the hole between first and second base for a clean single.
“I have not been in that type of situation yet this year,” said Reineke. “It was good to see the ball get through.”
Dixie State has now had six of their last seven games decided by one run and four of their last eight go into extra innings.
Dixie State got on the board first in the second inning. Jerome Hill started out the inning with a triple to right field. Hayes Hall batted him in with a single to the left side.
Things looked bleaker for the Storm in the next half inning when the Lancers went on a rampage. The Lancers’ Jake Gallaway began with a double to right center. After a sacrifice bunt, leadoff hitter Zack Norris singled through the right side to score Gallaway. Andrew Montoya then double down the left field line to score Norris. Two batters later, Antonio Chavarria singled to shortstop to score Montoya. A.J. David then doubled down the right field line to score Chavarria before the Storm could get out of the inning, down 4-1.
The Storm tacked on another run in the bottom of the fourth. Hill was hit by pitch. He stole second and was singled in by Davison to cut the Lancer lead to 4-2.
That lead would hold up until the bottom of the seventh. Morache struck out swinging to begin the seventh. Kamachi got on with a single up the middle. McLaughlin got on with a fielder’s choice, but Kamachi got to second safely on the shortstop’s throwing error. Sam Hall then singled to left center. Kamachi scored on the play. Ryan Rodriguez then loaded the bases with a shot to left center, setting up Gust’s heroics to send the game into extra innings.
Mason Hilty started the game for Dixie State. Hilty allowed six hits and four runs (three earned) in six and one-third innings. Hardman took the win for his first of the year. Travis Booth took the loss for the Lancers to fall to 1-2.
The Storm move to 13-4 overall, 1-2 in the PacWest. CBU moves to 12-5 overall, 2-1 in conference play. The two teams will play the final game of their series Saturda at noon. Dixie State will look to even the series.
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