Dixie State baseball and softball continued to garner national attention with impressive sweeps over Academy of Art and Colorado Mesa University.
Dixie State baseball had a four-game sweep of Academy of Art at Bruce Hurst field this weekend.
DSU exploded in the first game of the series on Friday night, when it scored 21 runs en route to the blowout win over A of A. The Red Storm, winners of 18 of their last 19 games, gave up the first two runs of the game to the Knights before the offensive explosion. Junior Porter Clayton earned the victory on the mound, and senior second baseman Yuto Kata went 4-4 from the plate with five RBIs in the 21-3 win. Senior infielder, Kevin Kline, psychology major from Las Vegas, was also perfect on the day, going 2-2 with four runs.
“We’re playing fundamental baseball,” Kline said. “Even when we are down as we were this weekend, we have guys step up with huge at-bats which has given us a lot of confidence in those situations.”
The confidence Kline spoke of continued to show in the second game of the series, as the Storm continued their dominance on the diamond. Freshman Dylan File earned his first career complete game. File threw 99 pitches on Friday night, retiring the first 14 batters he faced and striking out six batters on his way to the 6-1 win.
On Saturday, the Storm kept the heat up in another double-header. Once again, A of A struck first, scoring three unanswered runs before DSU took over. Kata and sophomore infielder Drew McLaughlin both went 3-4 from the plate, combining for three runs scored and three RBIs. Sophomore pitcher Tanner Howell earned his second win of the season in a relief effort, where he retired all 10 batters he faced in the 11-4 win.
“We struggled defensively this week,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “Our guys were so strong at the plate that we were able to overcome it. Our goal is to get better every day, and I think we took a step back from that on defense this week so we will be working on cleaning up our errors and fielding.”
Looking to close out the sweep of the Knights, DSU needed a big play from junior catcher Sam Hall to get the 10-6 victory. With the game tied 3-3, Hall stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and cranked one over the right field wall. The grand-slam proved to be just what the Storm needed, as they won with a 4-run margin.
DSU improved to 20-8 overall and 15-1 in Pacific West Conference play.
Next, The Storm head west to California to face Fresno Pacific in a four-game series beginning on Thursday.
Riding a 23-game winning streak, the longest in the nation, the Red Storm traveled north to Cedar City to face Division I rival Southern Utah University.
A late rally was not enough to keep the streak alive for the Storm as the team dropped its first game since Valentines Day. SUU scored three unanswered runs in the sixth inning to put it on top 5-3. Dixie tried to storm back in the final inning, but the Thunderbirds stifled the comeback attempt, stranding what would’ve been the winning run on first base. Junior catcher Autumn Woodfall went 3-4 in the loss.
Following the loss, the Storm looked to start up another streak against non-conference foe Colorado Mesa University. DSU exploded against Mavericks in the two-game series on Thursday.
Facing an early deficit, DSU scored nine unanswered runs to put the Mavs away. Senior catcher Marla Reiter and senior second baseman Nicole Chavez both had two-run bombs in the game, pushing DSU to the win 9-2 in game one. Senior Michelle Duncan stayed perfect on the season from the circle, improving to 17-0. Duncan said it was very important to rebound following the loss to SUU.
“I think we bounced back really well from the loss,” Duncan said. “The offense really came alive against CMU.”
The second leg of the double-header belonged entirely to Dixie State. Aryn Feickert, recently named PacWest Pitcher of the Week, didn’t allow a run from CMU all game long. Offensively, Reiter smacked another homer in the third inning, her team-high seventh of the season. Sophomore shortstop Josey Hartman and sophomore pitcher Brooklyn Beardshear each added two-run bombs to seal the 9-0 victory.
Freshman outfielder Janessa Bassett earned PacWest Newcomer of the Week for her efforts in the series. Bassett, a biology major from Stansbury Park, attributes the great play to the teams chemistry.
“I think we are playing so well because we are just going out there and having fun,” Bassett said. “We all get along so well on and off the field. We have a lot of fun, but at the same time we keep the intensity and seriousness that the game requires.”
With the wins, DSU improved to 31-6 overall and stayed 20-0 in the PacWest.
Next for the Storm is a six-game California road trip beginning against California Baptist University on Friday.