After getting rained out in Hawaii, Dixie State University’s baseball team will bat two days earlier in California and take on University of Hawaii at Hilo and Azusa Pacific University.
While in Hawaii, DSU opened up with UH-Hilo. The Storm played the first two games and then the games got rained out for the next two.
“We were actually in the seventh inning of game three,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “We were winning 3-1 and a tropical monsoon hit. We are going to make those games up next week in California.”
DSU went to Honolulu to play Hawaii Pacific University to finish up the week. It dropped the first three games.
“It was 0-0 and Yuto Kata got thrown out at the plate for the third out of the inning, and that kind of swung the momentum huge to their side,” said second baseman Colton Yack, a senior communication major from South Jordan. “After that they just started rolling, and we couldn’t get anything going.”
The Storm only scored three runs combined in all three games.
“Our offense has been doing really well this year,” Pfatenhauer said. “Going into that series, we were leading the conference in hitting, but we did not manage to do very well against their pitchers.”
Pfatenhauer said during game three they got their momentum going a little bit. He said it was a tough trip with the time difference and playing eight games in six days.
UH-Hilo happens to be in California the same week as Dixie. So the Storm will be heading down two days early to fit in the last two games of that series.
Pfatenhauer said their goal is to finish with a record of 5-3 for the series in California.
Since this is the Cougar’s first year in the Pacific West Conference, this will be Dixie’s first time playing APU.
“[APU is] struggling a little bit in conference, but they have had a really good program over the years,” Pfatenhauer said.
But he said his men have a lot of motivation this season and will give this game their best.
“We had a lot of goals coming in to the season,” Pfatenhauer said. “The guys felt a little light in pre-season when they weren’t ranked higher. Then we started playing well and got up to No. 14 in the country at one point.”
But then Dixie went 3-5 over its next eight games and dropped out of the rankings.
“They understand that every weekend is important, and they understand that every weekend we are under the spotlight,” Pfatenhauer said. “So we just have to keep doing what we have done all year.”
Pfatenhauer said earlier Dixie’s pitching wasn’t that strong, and its offense was carrying them.
“We didn’t pitch very well the first weekend [of the season], and we have just progressively got better,” said Mike Dedrick, a senior accounting major from Cedar City. “We still have work to do, but some of the guys have stepped up and thrown well. We have really improved.”
Pfatenhauer said the pitchers who are shining this season are Dedrick, senior Sam Friend and senior Austin Christiansen.
Dixie will play APU on March 29-30 at Cougar Baseball Stadium in California.