The Storm’s 13-game winning streak ended in game one, but they split the series with No. 2 Azusa Pacific University in a three-day battle for the top conference spot.
The Cougars defeated Dixie State University 5-2 Saturday after DSU led the first few innings.
DSU began the fourth game with two runs in the first three innings. Each team continued to hold together until the sixth inning. Azusa then had multiple on-base hits to tie the game, 2-2.
Dixie had one more shot to tie up the ball game in the bottom of the ninth, but the Storm couldn’t battle against the Cougars’ defense as every ball landed into the gloves of the Cougars.
“It is very disappointing splitting; you always want to win the series — that’s our main goal coming into this series,” said centerfielder Donald Glover, a junior integrated studies major from Las Vegas. “[By] losing our last game, I feel like we lost every game [this series].”
Glover said that loss will hang on the Storm’s mind during their bye week this weekend.
But heroics helped Dixie State win game three 12-11 with a walk-off in its Friday double-header sweep.
Freshman second baseman Drew McLaughlin was on third in double extra innings with one out as freshman utility Trey Kamachi stepped up to the plate. Dixie and Azusa were tied at 11. Kamachi hit the ball to center field for a sacrifice fly as McLaughlin ran into home to be the 12th and game-winning run for the Storm. Shocked, Dixie State ran out of its dugout to surround Kamachi with the game-saving hit.
McLaughlin, a criminal justice major from Scottsdale, Ariz., said he was happy for his team as he ran in for the game-winning run.
“I almost fell I was so excited; I almost tripped, but I ended up scoring,” McLaughlin said. “Trey did a good job, and [Austin Bartleson] did a great job moving me over, so I giveprops to those two guys.”
McLaughlin said when the team battles, it picks each other up, and he said that is what they did in the third game.
Senior first baseman Tyler Blair hit a home run this game along with junior infielder Kevin Kline’s two homers.
Junior pitcher John Conquy conquered the second game as he pitched nine straight innings. The Storm had multiple home runs as they dominated the game. The Storm won 12-3.
The first game ended a lot like the fourth as the Storm led until the ninth inning but couldn’t hold off the Cougars’ batters as they hit single after single.
Though Dixie started off slow, head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said the potential of this team outweighs last year’s talent.
“Our bullpen is a lot better than it was last year,” Pfatenhauer said. “We are also playing a little bit better defense than last year.”
But Pfatenhauer said the Storm aren’t quite as fast as they were in the 2013 season. He said the Storm haven’t stolen as many bases compared to last year, but the men this year are cashing in that big hit when they need to.
The Storm face California State University-Los Angeles April 18-19 in a three-game series.