Dixie State drops pitchers duel, one loss from elimination

File photo of Dixie State's Autumn Woodfall (00) dives in to home safely, Dixie State University vs BYU Hawai'i, Softball, St. George, Utah, Apr. 25, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ARCATA, Calif. – The Dixie State softball team lost the first game in the best-of-three Super regional Thursday, leaving the Trailblazers on the brink of elimination. The game against Humboldt State was a pitching duel between two of the top pitchers in the nation and stretched into extra innings before the Lumberjacks pulled out the 3-2 victory.

Dixie State struck first by plating a run in the first inning. Janessa Bassett got aboard with a walk then moved her way to third by stealing second and advancing on a fielder’s choice. With two outs gone, Arista Honey singled to left to score Bassett and make it 1-0.

Humboldt answered in the third. Tiffany Hollingsworth hit a sacrifice fly deep to center to score the runner from third base. The score remained tied at 1-1 until the top of the sixth, when DSU’s Bailey Gaffin hit a line-drive home run over the center field fence to regain the lead for the Trailblazers.

It did not take long for HSU to answer, however, as Breonna Bejaran matched Gaffin’s solo shot with one of her own. The 2-2 tie sent the game past regulation.

Dixie State’s Bailey Gaffin (5), file photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

In the bottom of that inning the Lumberjacks got their lead runner on with a walk. A sacrifice bunt got her to second. A single got runners at the corners with only one out. The winning run came across on a fielding error with the next batter to give HSU the win.

“I thought we played well enough to put ourselves in a position to win, but not well enough to win,” said Dixie State head coach Randy Simkins. “Defensively, we played well enough to win, but we didn’t hit the ball well enough to win. Credit their pitcher, she did a really good job. She’s been great lately. It all comes down to which team can push runs across late. They were able to do that in the last inning. We’ve got to do a better job of swinging it early and getting runners on base.”

Brooklyn Beardshear pitched superbly in the loss. She allowed three runs on three hits, striking out eight. Madison Williams got the win for HSU, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out 10.

Both teams move to a record of 42-13. Dixie State must sweep Friday’s doubleheader to advance to the College Softball World Series. The first game is scheduled for noon Pacific Time.

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