SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – No. 9 Dixie State opened the 2017 regular season on a positive note as the Trailblazers rallied for a 9-6 victory over Cal State San Bernardino Friday afternoon at Fiscalini Field.
The Coyotes led 3-0 early thanks a first-inning Daniel Romo two-run home run and a Lucas Martinez sacrifice fly in the third. The Trailblazers broke through in the fourth with a Miles Bice run-scoring fly out, but CSUSB got that run back in its half of the frame to extend to a 4-1 advantage.
DSU finally solved Coyote starter Jon Ferrendelli in the fifth as the Trailblazers touched him up for three runs to pull even at 4-4. Drew McLaughlin drove home Tyler Mildenberg with an RBI-single to start the rally, and the senior would come around to score two batters later on a Logan Porter two-run homer to straight-away center field.
CSUSB would answer with two runs in the fifth to chase DSU starter Dylan File and reclaim the lead at 6-4. However, the Trailblazers would mount a furious rally in the seventh as DSU took advantage of two Coyote errors and got a pair of timely base hits to erase the deficit and take its first lead of the game at 8-6.
Tyler Baker and McLaughlin both walked to lead off the frame, then after Bryce Feist reached on an infield error to load the bases, Reece Lucero tied the game with a two-run single through the left side. Following a Ryan Rodriguez sacrifice bunt, Bice singled up the middle to plate Feist and Lucero to give the Trailblazers a two-run cushion.
Dixie State tacked on one more insurance run in the eighth when Baker, who reached on a one-out single, advanced to third on a McLaughlin safety and stole home. Meanwhile, the Trailblazer bullpen locked down the Coyotes the rest of the way as four relievers combined to limit CSUSB to just one hit and two total base runners over the final 4.2 innings.
Eight of the nine DSU starters had at least one base hit as the Trailblazers outhit the Coyotes 10-6. McLaughlin finished with two hits and two runs scored, while Lucero collected two hits to go with his two RBI. File struck out three, though he surrendered five earned runs (six total) and five hits in 4.1 innings of work. Walker Williams pitched 1.2 innings of one-hit relief to earn his first win of the season, while Tyler Burdett hurled a spotless ninth to pick up the save.
Dixie State and CSUSB will continue their four-game, season-opening series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. (PT).
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