ST. GEORGE – Dixie State used a little “small ball” to break a sixth-inning tie on its way to a 9-5 victory over Hawaii Hilo Thursday night at Bruce Hurst Field. The Trailblazers have now won seven of their last nine to move to 13-18 overall, 9-12 in Pacific West Conference play.
DSU got off to a rocky start defensively as the Trailblazers committed two first-inning errors, which led to three unearned Vulcan runs. However, Dixie State would rally with a run in the home half of the second on a Tyler Hollow RBI-single and tied the game an inning later with a Joe Raymond run-scoring double and a Logan Porter sacrifice fly.
Tied at 4-4 in the sixth, the Trailblazers had two runners in scoring position and one out after a Hollow leadoff single and Kyle Hoffman base hit and stolen base. With the infield drawn in, freshman Jagun Leavitt laid down a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt to the first base side of the mound to drive in both runs and give DSU its first lead of the night at 6-4. Hollow scored easily from third base on the play, while Hoffman got a running start from second on the pitch and never broke stride as he hit the third base bag as Hilo pitcher Brandyn Lee-Lehano (L, 0-4) picked up the ball to throw to first for the out.
The Vulcans (11-14/7-10 PacWest) would make it a 6-5 game with a run in the seventh, but Dixie State answered with three more runs in the home eighth to put the game away.
The Trailblazers outhit UHH 13-11, including a 4 for 4 effort from Hollow, which was the first collegiate four-hit game for the freshman, and Hoffman finished with three hits. Freshman hurler Jimmy Borzone (W, 1-0) worked 3.1 innings of one-run, four-hit relief with three strikeouts to earn his first collegiate victory, while senior Tanner Howell (S, 2) fanned three over 1.2 hitless innings to pick up his second save of the year.
The two teams will meet again in game two of the series Friday night at 6 p.m.
DSU 7, Azusa Pacific 2
DSU 15, APU 1
No. 5 Dixie State softball took both ends of a Pacific West Conference doubleheader on Thursday, 7-2 and 15-1, to clinch a 3-1 series win over Azusa Pacific at Karl Brooks Field.
The Trailblazers (25-3, 11-3 PacWest) bounced back from a tough split on Wednesday, outscoring the Cougars 22-3 through both games on Thursday. DSU pounded out 19 hits and 21 RBIs on the day, while allowing just three runs on seven hits. Janessa Bassett led the charge offensively for DSU, hitting .667 with four hits, 3 RBIs, six runs scored, and three stolen bases.
Bassett drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, then scored to give DSU a 1-0 lead when Kenzie Sawyer singled up the middle with two outs. The Trailblazers tacked on another run to push the lead to 2-0 in the third inning when Sawyer scored from first on a Jessica Gonzalez single and an APU fielding error in center field.
Azusa Pacific pulled even in the top of the fourth inning, using three hits and a DSU error to tie the game at 2-2 after a double to left field scored both runs.
Dixie State countered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to push the lead back to 5-2. Dani Bartholf started the rally with a one-out walk, followed by a Bassett double down the left field line. Brenna Hinck and Bailey Gaffin then drew consecutive walks to push the score to 3-2. Sawyer belted a double to left center in the next at-bat to drive in the final two runs of the inning.
Riley Tyteca gave the Trailblazers a 6-2 lead when she crushed the first pitch of the bottom of the fifth over the fence in left center field for her fourth home run of the season. Dixie State scored the final run of the game in the sixth inning when Hinck scored from third on a Sawyer fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop to push the score to the final tally of 7-2.
Sawyer tallied two hits for a team-high 4 RBI, while Gonzalez added two more hits. Cambrie Hazel (10-2) earned the win with three strikeouts to become just the second freshman (Lauren Folta, 2009; 15-6) in the DSU softball NCAA era to notch 10 wins in a season.
The Trailblazers picked up where they left off in game two, scoring five runs on two hits to build a 5-0 lead in the first inning. The Cougars walked four of the first five DSU batters to push a run across with just one out. Later in the inning, Tyteca and Bartholf each recorded a two-run single to stake the home team to the five-run advantage.
Azusa Pacific pulled one run back in the top of the second, scoring on an RBI double to right center field to pull to within 5-1. But the Cougars wouldn’t score again.
Meanwhile, DSU scored in each of the next three innings, beginning with a Gaffin sacrifice fly to left field in the second inning to push the lead to 6-1.
The Trailblazers added four more runs on four hits in the third inning. After back-to-back fly outs, Bartholf and Kaitlyn Delange doubled in consecutive at-bats to push the lead to 7-1. Bassett later singled through the right side for an RBI, followed by a two-run single up the middle by Gaffin to extend the advantage to 10-1.
Dixie State put the finishing touches on the five-inning win with another five runs on four hits in the fourth inning. Delange plated the first run with an RBI groundout to second base. Bassett then singled up the middle to score two more, followed by a Taylor Godfrey RBI double to left field. Gaffin finished the inning with an RBI single up the middle to push the lead to the final tally of 15-1.
Bassett was a perfect 3 for 3 with a walk, 3 RBIs, and four runs scored, while Gaffin logged two hits and a team-high 4 RBIs to lead DSU at the plate. Alexandria Melendez (8-0) picked up the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing just one run on two hits.
Dixie State will close the week with a doubleheader against Biola on Saturday at Karl Brooks Field. First pitch is set for noon.
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