ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State baseball team salvaged a split with a win in the nightcap of Friday night’s doubleheader with Azusa Pacific at Bruce Hurst Field. The split kept the teams tied for second in the loss column in the PacWest Conference. But both teams are now four games back of conference leader Cal Baptist with nine games remaining.
Azusa Pacific 8, Dixie State 1
Dixie State scored first, but wasted many opportunities to add to the lead through the early innings. “We matched them in hits (14) and this weekend we have over 40 hits in three games,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “But we are not getting hits with guys in scoring position. We left over 10 men on base in the first game.”
After holding the Cougars scoreless over the first four innings, Dixie State would see APU score in each of the last five innings. “We let the game get away from us,” said Pfatenhauer. “We had opportunities early when the game was still in reach.”
Offensively Tanner Morache and Miles Bice each recorded three hits. Drew McLaughlin broke the career hits record (193) with a bunt single in the third inning. On the mound Dylan File took his first loss of the season (4-1). File pitched seven innings, gave up five runs (three earned) and struck out four.
Dixie State 9, Azusa Pacific 6
The Trailblazers were successful getting runs across in the nightcap. The Cougars struck first with a solo shot in the first inning. But the Trailblazers responded in the bottom of the inning. Morache reached on a fielding error. McLaughlin then doubled, advancing Morache to third. Sam Hall followed up with a double of his own to score the two runners. Bice then scored Hall with a single to center field to make it 3-1.
The lead did not last long, however. APU put up three more runs in the second to reclaim the lead. Dixie State had their most productive inning in the third. McLaughlin started the inning with a single to right. Hall then singled to right and advanced McLaughlin to third. Ryan Rodriguez and Miles Bice hit back-to-back singles to gain an RBI each, scoring McLaughlin and Hall to put DSU ahead 5-4.
Later in the inning, Jerome Hill hit a two-out single to score Rodriguez. With runners at the corners, the Trailblazers had Hill attempt a steal. The throw to second allowed Bice to score before the Cougars could tag Hill for the final out. Dixie’s lead after three was 7-4.
APU closed to within one by putting up two runs in the fourth inning. The Trailblazers would add two insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Morache and McLaughlin hit back-to-back one-out singles. Hall then drew a walk to load the bases. Rodriguez then drew a walk to score Morache. After a pitching change, Bice singled to center field to score McLaughlin. At the end of six, the score was 9-6, Trailblazers.
Relief pitcher Spencer Greer closed out the game in the ninth to record the save. Kolton Brost got the win (3-0) in relief. McLaughlin and Bice led DSU with three hits apiece.
“Our relief pitching pulled out the victory for us in Game 2,” said Pfatenhauer. “(APU) did not get any hits in the last three innings.”
The Trailblazers move to 31-10, 19-8 in the PacWest. APU finished the night with a 20-17 record overall, 15-8 in the PacWest. They will finish their series tomorrow with a noon game at Bruce Hurst Field.
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