The Dixie State University softball team took it to the mound when it shut down Southern Utah University’s star pitcher for the double-header victory.
SUU started the game with a three-run home run over the centerfield fence by junior first baseman Madison Resley. After four runners came home, DSU got three outs and had a chance to match SUU.
And match it did.
In the bottom of the first, sophomore outfielder Courtney Sherwin equalized with a homer that brought in the only runs of the game.
Dixie held the T-Birds scoreless the remainder of the game and took the 4-3 win.
“Anytime you beat Southern Utah, it’s a great day,” head coach Randy Simkins said. “They’re as good as anybody around. Their record doesn’t show it, but they played the top 25 teams. They’ve played a really, really hard preseason schedule.”
The Red Storm kept the momentum as they finished the day with a 17-6 victory.
Simkins said it was a great opportunity to get non-starters more innings. He said he is confident in every player, and he expects success every time the team steps onto the field.
“Some of the kids who don’t get as many innings went in the second game and put up 17 runs,” Simkins said. “Our team is as deep as any team in the West, so I feel like we’re going to be right where we need to be.”
Simkins said one of the reasons the SUU games are so competitive is because the T-birds have players he coached in high school and players he tried to recruit for DSU.
Junior pitcher Ariel Zimmerman was one of those players, and DSU was able to handle her skills.
“Any time you beat Zimmerman, then that’s an accomplishment because she’s really good,” Simkins said.
But Dixie overcame that speed bump as it excelled to win.
“We knew once we got past Zimmerman, the pitching that they had wouldn’t be near as good,” Simkins said. “We knew we were going to be able to get runs on the board, and we did, but just getting past Zimmerman was a real tough task.”
Siera Philips, a freshman communication major from Mesa, Ariz., said one of the reasons Dixie got past SUU’s pitchers was because the team’s bats connected with the ball well.
The Storm has 10 games at home to end their season before playoffs. They have double-headers against Holy Names University, Azusa Pacific University and four games against Grand Canyon University.
“If anybody is ever in a great position to win a conference championship it’s us,” Simkins said. “We’re right where we need to be. Our No. 1 goal is to play together as a team. Our No. 2 goal is to win a PacWest Championship.”
The Storm are ready to face these teams at home, and they are focusing on keeping the hitting, fielding and pitching momentum to take all 10 wins.
“Every day we get better,” Phillips said. “Every practice we get better. Every day we just know what we need to do to win it all, so we just keep working hard.”
DSU plays Holy Names on April 13 at noon and 2 p.m. at Karl Brooks Field.