Four wins over the weekend for the Dixie State University Red Storm helped propel them to an 8-0 start to the season, its bests since 2004.
Storm baseball squared off against the Northwest Nazarene University Crusaders Friday.
Sophomore pitcher Dylan File struck out seven batters while only allowing one run on one hit over seven innings of work. Senior pitcher Jeremy Alderman earned his second save of the season after shutting down the Crusaders in the ninth.
Redshirt junior infielder Drew McLaughlin went 2-3, including a solo homerun in the fouth inning.
“Things have been going pretty good for us,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “This year’s team is so new, we don’t really have an identity yet, but we always fight hard.”
In the second game of the day, DSU cruised to an 8-1 victory against Montana State University.
Junior pitcher Mason Hilty scattered three hits while striking out eight batters and allowed only one run over seven innings.
After scoring a run in the third inning, DSU recorded four runs in the fourth and two runs in the sixth. A sacrifice fly to right field in the eigth inning added DSU’s final run.
“This year’s team is much better than previous years,” said redshirt junior outfielder Trey Kamachi, an integrated studies major from Kapolei, Hawaii. “We know that if we stick to what we prepare for, then everything will work out.
A rematch with the Crusaders saw sophomore pitcher Aaron Pope throw a two-hit shutout through seven and a third innings, helping the Storm to a 5-0 win.
McLaughlin and redshirt junior outfielder Jerome Hill II each homered in the matchup, helping the Storm to a 3-0 lead after five innings.
Kamachi stole home to add the final run for the Storm in the eighth before a 1-2-3 final inning gave DSU the victory.
“Anyone of our guys can come in and get the job done,” Kamachi said. “That confidence carries throughout our guys, and we know that we can capitalize on any mistake by the opposition.”
The Storm scored a pair of runs in each of the first two innings during the final game of the weekend and found themselves leading early 4-1. The Yellowjackets quickly responded, however, as they tallied five runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-5 lead.
It was a back and forth game from there until the Storm found themselves up 9-7 going into the top of the ninth. In that inning, the Yellowjackets would eventually load the bases before scoring two runs on a hit batsman and an infield single, sending the game to extra innings.
“It was good to see the team fight back,” said McLaughlin, a criminal justice major from Scottsdale, Arizona. “A game like this will help us later on in the year.”
The Yellowjackets were silent in the top of the tenth before the Storm loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning. McLaughlin, who went 4-6, stepped to the plate and sent a groundball through the right side of the infield, and the winning run crossed home plate.
“I was just trying to poke something and get it into the outfield,” McLaughlin said. “I just tried to put something in play. I did, and it worked out best for all of us.”
Pfatenhauer emphasized his desire for his team to improve. “We were resilient today. Guys stepped up and had some good at bats.”
With the win, DSU moves to 8-0 overall, its best start to a season since 2004 when it started 10-1. The Storm will finalize their opening home stand this weekend with a game against Minot State University Friday and another against Saint Martin’s University Sunday.