Opening day has come and gone, but the Dixie State University baseball team started its season off on the right foot.
The Trailblazers completed a four-game sweep against the California State San Bernardino University Coyotes over the weekend.
DSU found itself trailing early in the maiden game of its 2017 season Friday. The Trailblazers allowed four runs in the first four innings of play while managing only one run themselves.
The Trailblazers then put together a three-run fifth inning fueled by a two-run home run by redshirt junior designated hitter Logan Porter. The Coyotes responded and pushed across two runs in the fifth inning to take a 6-4 lead.
DSU loaded the bases in the seventh inning following two walks and an error by the Coyote defense. Redshirt senior catcher Reece Lucero, who finished going 2-5, tied the game on a two-run single.
“Our expectation is that we are going to score runs,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “We did a good job at manufacturing runs and got clutch hits when we needed them.”
Senior outfielder Miles Bice continued the rally in the seventh with a two-run single giving the Trailblazers the lead, 8-6.
Redshirt senior shortstop Tyler Baker added another run for DSU in the eighth by stealing home. The Trailblazers held on the victory, 9-6.
Senior pitcher Mason Hilty lead DSU from the mound in the first game of a twin bill Saturday. He pitched six scoreless inning while scattering two hits and striking out six Coyotes on his way to picking up his first win of the season.
“Everything was working,” said Hilty, an early childhood education major from Richland, Washington. “Whenever our offense starts getting runs, it gives me more confidence to just go out and compete. [Having a good defense] behind me also gives me a lot of confidence.”
Three players homered for DSU starting off with Porter, who smacked his second homer in as many games. He gave the Trailblazers an early 2-0 lead.
“We haven’t built our team to hit home runs,” Pfatenhauer said. “They are nice to get, but timely hits are always great, and that is what we are built on.”
DSU extended the lead in the fifth as Lucero doubled and drove home two before redshirt senior outfielder Trey Kamachi belted a three-run homer to give his team a 7-0 advantage.
After DSU scored a run in the sixth inning, junior catcher Jake Davison hit a three-run home run in the seventh. Davison finished going 3-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.
“Everyone in our lineup can hit,” said Lucero, a communication major from Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Everyone on the team contributed in the wins over the weekend. We scored runs when we needed to.”
DSU did surrender a run in the seventh and five in the eighth before adding two of its own in the ninth to cruise to a 13-6 victory.
The second game Saturday was the closest of the four games over the weekend, but DSU ended victorious 5-4.
Senior infielder Tyler Mildenberg provided the bulk of DSU’s offense as he homered twice, the first, a solo shot in the third, was followed by a two-run blast in the fourth. The homers sandwiched a double by Kamachi that gave DSU the lead, 4-0.
CSSBU fired back in the bottom of the fifth with three runs to cut the lead to just one, but DSU added an insurance run in the seventh before slamming the door on a potential come back. The Trailblazers finished on top, 5-4.
The final game of the series was highlighted by a solid performance from the DSU pitching staff. Four Trailblazer pitchers combined to allow one run on seven hits to help DSU to a 10-1 win.
“We have always taken pride in pitching,” Pfatenhauer said. “That may be the most important part of the game, especially at our level. Pitching doesn’t slump.”
DSU notched 11 hits in the game but was also aided by five miscues by the Coyote defense. The Trailblazers scored nine runs over the first six innings of play before adding one run in the top of the eighth to complete the sweep over CSSBU.
Baker went 3-5 with three runs scored while Kamachi went 2-4 with one run scored.
At 4-0 on the young season, DSU will play its home opener Friday as part of a double header against Colorado Mesa University. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. inside Bruce Hurst Field.