ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State softball team kept pace with PacWest frontrunner Cal Baptist by sweeping Notre Dame de Namur 11-1 and 3-0 Saturday behind excellent defense and even better pitching.
Dixie State 11, NDNU 1
Brooklyn Beardshear pitched a no hitter in the first game and was only two baserunners (walk, hit-by-pitch) away from throwing a perfect game. The Argonauts did score one of those runners, but still lost in the mercy-rule game 11-1. Beardshear struck out seven.
Beardshear was pulled from a game earlier this year when she had a no-hitter going into the last two innings. Coach Randy Simkins was more concerned with Beardshear recently returning from injury and felt it was more prudent to play it safe than to go for the no-hitter.
“I am not sure what I would have done if he had pulled me this game,” said a smiling Beardshear. “I think he took enough heat the last time that he had to leave me in today.”
“Our pitching was pretty good today but you can’t overlook how well the defense played,” said Simkins. “We did not have an error in either game and there were a few great plays made to preserve the no-hitter.”
“Cassidy Morton made a play on a bunt from third base that easily could have been a hit,” said Beardshear. “It was just good defense the entire game.”
Offensively, the Blazers put up their 11 runs in the first game over their last three at-bats in the second, third and fourth innings. The Trailblazers got all nine of their hits and the Argonauts also committed seven errors in the same timespan. Shelby Yung went 3 for 3 at the plate.
Dixie State 3, NDNU 0
In the second game, Alexis Barkwell scattered six hits and struck out five in the 3-0 shutout.
“Our second game was a little more tense than the first,” said Simkins. “In the first, we put up a lot of runs in the early innings. In the second game, the run production came in the later innings.”
Asked if she was concerned with the early lack of run production, Barkwell said, ”Not really. We have good hitters all through the lineup. I know it is only a matter of time before they will break the game open.”
The early run came on an Arista Honey RBI. Honey knocked in Mallory Paulson on a fielder’s choice. Honey also got the rally started in the sixth inning. She hit a two-out double. Riley Tyteca entered the game to pinch run. Josey Hartman then singled in Tyteca and advanced to second on the throw home. Kenzie Sawyer then doubled in Hartman for the final run of the game.
With the sweep, Dixie State moves to 32-9 overall and 17-5 in the PacWest. They are alone in second place, three games back of Cal Baptist and one game in front of Azusa Pacific. The Trailblazers will play four games against Concordia next weekend in Irvine. The showdown with Cal Baptist will come the following week in Riverside, Calif.
After starting the season 8-7, Cal Baptist has gone on a 20-game win streak.
“We saw them at other invitationals earlier in the year and they were not playing well,” said Simkins. “But they have been on a roll since conference started. It will be a tough challenge for us.”
The Trailblazers’ final home game will be a doubleheader against Academy of Art on Apr. 29.
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