DSU baseball claims No. 1 spot, will battle APU conference foe

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From zero to hero, the No. 1 Dixie State University baseball team is on a 13-game winning streak after sweeping University of Hawaii-Hilo last weekend.

The Storm have pulled off a record-breaking amount of wins for Dixie since the 2010 season. Coming off a 0-7 start, the Storm have become the Pacific West Conference shocker, working their way up to No. 1 in the conference.

Dixie swept Hawaii-Hilo 4-0 over the course of two days in a four-game series, and junior pitcher Evan Parker received his record-breaking 11th save of the season for DSU.

The final game cut closer than the rest in the series. Hilo and the Storm remained tied until the fourth inning, but the Storm pulled off a 6-3 win against Hilo Sunday.  

“Everyone relaxed a little bit [the last game],” said shortstop Dalton Gust, a junior integrated studies major from Riverton. “We were hitting the baseballs hard, but [they were] just right to people.”

The Storm had a strong third game as they won 6-1. Dixie State completely shut down Hilo in the first two innings. It wasn’t until the third inning that Hilo earned a run, but it was because Hilo’s batter was hit by a pitch, which resulted in a run.

Dixie didn’t let that opportunity happen again as it allowed no runs the rest of the game.

“We usually struggle the third game [of the series],” said freshman utility Trey Kamachi, a junior integrated studies major from St. George. “So we have to have our tempo up more than the other games.”

Dixie kept up the tempo as Gust hit his first home run of the season, helping the starting pitcher, senior Kort Christoffersen, pick up the win, pitching the whole nine innings.

“I feel good [about the home run] — it’s about time,” Gust said. “I finally put a good swing on one, and it connected well, so it is very exciting.”

The Storm remained ahead the first game of the series. The Storm almost pulled off a shutout, but an error on Dixie allowed Hilo to score a run. The Storm won the game with a huge lead, defeating the Vulcans 11-1.

In the second game, the Storm and Hilo were tied with two runs in the third inning. But two errors for Hilo during Kamachi’s hit allowed him to advance all the way home on what should have been just a single for the freshman.

This set the wheels in motion for the Storm as they scored another run in that inning. Dixie then went on to score four more runs in the game, only allowing Hilo to run in two more. The Storm defeated the Vulcans 8-4.

Kamachi said it’s not just their talents that help them succeed — it’s the camaraderie the Storm has accumulated over the season.

He said all of the hitters like to get together before the games and put their bats in the center and touch tips of all the bats and break off. Kamachi said it is not only a pregame bonding ritual, but it is starting to turn out to be a good luck charm for the Storm.

The Storm are hoping to continue their winning streak as they bat up against Azusa Pacific University Thursday to Saturday at Bruce Hurst Field. The first pitch will be thrown at 4 p.m.