Dixie State University vs. Hawai'i Pacific University, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Mar. 24, 2018, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – Dixie State opened its longest home stand of the 2018 season with a sweep of a Saturday Pacific West Conference doubleheader against Hawaii Pacific at Bruce Hurst Field. The Trailblazers (11-17, 7-11 PacWest) needed 11 innings to walk-off with a 5-4 win in the opener and followed that up with a 9-5 triumph in the nightcap.
All five DSU runs in the series opener were unearned thanks to five Shark (11-11, 5-9 PacWest) errors, including single runs in the second and third frames that gave the Trailblazers a 2-0 lead. DSU plated the first run after an errant throw on a Kyle Hoffman steal of second base sailed into the outfield, which allowed Jake Engel to score from third base.
Dixie State then took advantage of a second Shark miscue in the third when a dropped fly ball in the outfield allowed the Trailblazers to load the bases with one out. However, DSU was limited to just one run in that frame, which came one batter later when Joe Raymond drew an RBI-walk, as HPU managed to induce an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Sharks struck for three runs in their next offensive stanza, with the big blow coming on a Christian Kapeliela game-tying two-run home run. HPU followed with two more hits after the homer, and Mitchell Bumann would bunt home the go-ahead run on a safety squeeze later in the frame to spot his side a 3-2 lead.
DSU wrestled the lead back in the home half of fourth with two more unearned runs coming on consecutive Shark infield errors, which staked Dixie State to a 5-4 advantage. The Trailblazers maintained their slim lead until the eighth, when HPU loaded the bases with one out and plated the tying run on a Ryan Torres-Torioka fly out.
The score remained tied until the home 11th as this time Dixie State loaded the bases with one out on a Shark lead-off error, which was followed by a Kade Urban walk and a Raymond single. Jake Davison then stepped up and lined a 3-2 pitch to left field for the walk-off win.
DSU collected eight hits in game one, including a pair of two-hit efforts from Bryce Feist and Tyler Hollow. Senior reliever Tanner Howell (W, 3-1) struck out two and limited HPU to three hits and one run over the final 4.2 innings to pick up his third win of the year.
In the seven-inning nightcap, the Trailblazers erased an early 1-0 deficit with seven-unanswered runs to bolt out to a 7-1 lead through four complete. DSU plated two unearned runs in the home second before erupting for four runs in the third thanks to an Engel bases-loaded walk, a wild pitch, and a two-run Raymond single.
Dixie State extended to a 9-2 lead in the fifth, which included an Alec Flemetakis RBI-single, but HPU struck for three runs in the sixth on the strength of a Jordan Mopas homer to left field. However, that would be as close as HPU would get as DSU reliever Tyler Rosas came on to retire five of the final six Shark hitters to close out the game.
Flemetakis and Gabe Taylor collected two hits apiece as DSU finished with eight safeties in the finale. Senior lefthander Matt Mosca (W, 3-3) scattered five hits and two runs over five innings with three strikeouts to record his third win of the season.
The Trailblazers and Sharks continue their four-game set with a Sunday matinee at Bruce Hurst Field beginning at 2 p.m.