Last Updated: December 21, 2017, 3:54 pm

Baseball falls to Saint Martin’s, returns to conference play this weekend

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Dixie State University baseball split a four-game series with Saint Martin’s University this weekend and has now dropped five of its last seven games. 

DSU traveled west to Lacey, Washington, to face the SMU Saints last weekend, splitting the series with two wins and two losses. After losing three straight to California Baptist, the Storm are now 2-5 in their last seven contests. Head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said he thinks this is due to a lack of focus and defense. 

“We’ve been playing good defense all year long,” Pfatenhauer said. “We knew this four-week stretch would be tough, but we’ve gotten away from what we were doing well and we just have to get back to that.” 

In the first game, DSU lost in a heartbreaker SMU sophomore Kaelen Hirashiki hit a walk-off homer to beat the Storm 4-3. 

The second day of the series was a tightly contested doubleheader with the Saints, 14-26. DSU used late-game heroics from junior infielder Tanner Morache. Sophomore outfielder Miles Bice doubled as the lead off hitter before Morache hit an RBI single to finish 3-5 from the plate and end the Storm’s four-game skid. 

Freshman Aaron Pope pitched 4.2 innings while allowing five runs on five hits and four strikeouts. Pope, a criminal justice major from Chubbuck, Idaho, said the team hasn’t shown up for its games recently. 

“We haven’t been playing our best baseball,” Pope said. “We’ve had a lack of energy during our games. Our hitters have been struggling, and we have committed a lot of fielding errors. We’ll have more energetic practices and come ready to play.” 

In game two of the double-header, the Storm did come out with more energy and it showed. DSU jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and were able to hold SMU off when they attempted to rally in the late innings. 

Sophomore Tanner Howell picked up the win from the mound as he slung 4.2 innings, allowing just one run on three hits. Freshman infielder Hayes Hall finished 2-3 from the plate and drove in two RBIs as DSU won 3-1. 

Saint Martin’s flipped the script on DSU in the final game of the series as it got out to an early 4-1 lead and held off the Storm late. 

DSU looked to complete another comeback as Morache and Bice each plated RBIs in the ninth inning, shrinking the lead to one with the tying run on second and nobody out. SMU smashed the Storm’s hopes of a rally with two straight strikeouts and a fly ball to end the game with two runners stranded. 

In the 4-3 loss, Dixie dropped to 27-13 but still sits atop the Pacific West Conference. DSU will get back to conference play against Azusa Pacific University this week in California. The four-game road series starts tomorrow at 4 p.m.

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