With a 4-1 overall record, the Dixie State University baseball team will be batting up against Montana State University-Billings in a series of four games from Feb. 22-24.
The Red Storm came back from Arizona to a 2-0 win to the Chinese National Team on Thursday and Friday.
This was a good game for the Storm to measure talent because of the Major League, Triple A and Minor League players on the Chinese National Team. This Chinese National Team will be playing in the World Baseball Classic in three weeks.
The Red Storm opened their season with California State University, Los Angeles Feb. 8-10. They won the series 3-1 but not without some struggle.
“We gave up 10 runs in one game and 18 in another game,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “So we didn’t play very good defense and didn’t pitch really well. We want to improve on those things before we head in to our home opener.”
Pfatenhauer said the offense was what stood out and won the game for the Red Storm. He said senior pitcher Sam Friend, who threw a four-hitter, had a great pitching outing on game four.
Pfatenhauer said overall he really likes where the players are offensively, but he hopes to correct the mistakes they made for their home opener against Montana State University-Billings.
“We ran the bases and swung the bats well, and we applied a lot of pressure to their team,” Pfatenhauer said. “[That] led to us scoring quite a few runs.”
Last season Dixie swept Montana State Billings 3-1.
“This series should be a series that we sweep,” said pitcher Austin Christiansen, a senior business major from Las Vegas. “We are a stronger team than last year, and last year [Montana] wasn’t that really impressive.”
MSU-Billings stands at 1-4-1 and is currently on a four-game losing streak.
“I think this next series is a big series for us,” Christiansen said. “It will show our fans what we are about.”
Christiansen said he wants to keep the fans coming out for their home series.
“It is our home opener, and we want to represent well,” Pfatenhauer said.
Catcher Mitch Manning, a senior business major from Kaysville, said even though they swung the bats well against Cal State, LA, they just need to work on the fundamentals.
“I don’t think we have to prove ourselves,” Manning said. “It is just an opportunity for us to get excited at home and start off the games hot.”
This first series has shaped the way DSU plays.
“We learned a lot about the team and how we can grind no matter what the situation is,” Christiansen said.
Experience is seeming to be key for the Red Storm. Playing four games in a series has helped DSU come out on top.
“Anybody can beat anybody on a given day,” Pfatenhauer said. “But if you play a series of four games, the better team will usually come out on top.”
He said the series of games is also good to be able to see all of the opponents’ pitchers and compare bull pens and consistency.
“Towards the end of the series you know what [the opponent] is going to come up with,” Christiansen said.
He said more importantly their team will know its best players to put in to defeat their opponent.
“It is not necessarily an advantage but knowing what to expect,” Christiansen said.
Pfatenhauer said he feels like they are a competitive group.
“We will grind and push all weekend, and if we let up for a few innings and drop one game we can still win the series,” Pfatehauer said.