Dixie State University’s baseball team took a tough loss to Fresno Pacific University Friday and Saturday.
Although Fresno took the victory, the team is taking the momentum from the series against the No. 1 team in the conference Grand Canyon University. It went 3-1 for the series at home, raising its ranks and its confidence.
“We are not anything different,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “We played the first place team our way and our style.”
The Storm are taking the momentum from the GCU series and stretching it out for the series against No. 2 California Baptist University.
“[CBU is] very offensive,” Pfatenhauer said. “They can really hit. They are leading the conference in a lot of offensive categories.”
Pfatenhauer said hitting home runs is a strength.
“They have 41 home runs and we have 14,” Pfatenhauer said. “So they have a lot of power in their line.”
He said the Storm’s goal is to be able to pitch. That is what gave the Storm a chance last weekend. He said if they can start off with good pitching and play defense, then they will be able to compete.
Dixie State is currently 19-11 in the Pacific West conference and 27-13 overall.
The Storm’s opponents are those with higher rankings.
Pfatenhauer said if they take care of business for the last two series, like they did against Grand Canyon on April 11-12, they still have a chance to win the championship.
“We have all of the cards in our hands, and if we take care of business, we will be in good shape at the end,” Pfatenhauer said.
First-basemen Kevin Kline, a sophomore psychology major from Las Vegas, said they need to go out with the same approach as the team did with Grand Canyon.
“It starts from our pitchers,” Kline said. “If they start off the game solid…then it will help us get things rolling.”
DSU faced Fresno Pacific University, where it lost the series 3-1 last week..
“Fresno can really pitch; they are actually leading the conference in pitching, which is a good battle,” Pfatenhauer said. “We are No. 2 in the conference in hitting and they are No.1 in the conference in pitching, so runs [were] hard to come by.
Leaders of the Team
As the Storm’s season on the diamond is coming to a close, Pfatenhauer said the seniors this year have been a real asset to the team, especially the four senior pitchers on the mound.
The seniors are Mike Dedrick, who is 7-2; Sam Friend, who is 5-1; Austin Christiansen, who is 6-2. Josh Mooney had eight saves.
“Those four seniors on the mound have been an integral part out our success,” Pfatenhauer said.
Dedrick, a senior accounting major from Cedar City, said the seniors this year are trying to be examples.
“We don’t have to take them by the hand because they are grown men too, but we just showed them the ropes on how to compete,” Dedrick said. “We have to compete as seniors. And I think that is what we have brought to the team.”
Pfatenhauer said offensively senior outfielder Jordan Hanley, who is currently leading the conference in hitting, has played a huge part in the team, as well as senior short stop Tyler Slesk.
“[Tyler] has been a really good short stop for us and has really been flawless the past couple weeks,” Pfatenhauer said.
Kline said the seniors have laid the foundation of what they expect from the younger guys.
“It has just helped out a lot, especially what they did last year and trying to carry it over to this year,” Kline said.
Wrap Up and Injuries
Pfatenhauer said he is proudest of all the men embracing his coaching staff and the new style he brought. He said buying into his new coaching style was very important for the team.
“We compete every game,” Dedrick said. “The same [for game four against GCU]. Even though we lost, it was one of the funnest games I have been a part of. So we compete to the end. We don’t roll over. There is no giving up on this team.”
Pfatenhauer said he is also proud of the team handling all of the injuries that the players have suffered throughout the year.
Senior right-fielder Cedric Johnson was out four to five weeks with an injury, junior outfielder Kris Kaplan was out for two weeks, and junior pitcher Bubba Blau is out for the rest of a season. Kline was also out for a few weeks at the beginning of the season.
Pfatenhauer said Kline has the chance to be the conference player of the year. He leads the team currently in RBIs and home runs.
DSU plays CBU April 25-27 starting at 7 p.m. at Bruce Hurst Field.