UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | February 27, 2024

Baseball takes the plate in season opener

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Dixie State University led off the season slowly this weekend with four losses in a series against California State Polytechnic University, Pomona at Bruce Hurst Field.

The season started off on the right foot, as senior center fielder Donald Glover scored on an Austin Nelson hit to right field, and junior pitcher Porter Clayton retired his first six batters, including four consecutive strikeouts. The quick start was not a sign of things to come.

DSU was outscored by Cal Poly Pomona 10-1 in the final eight innings, leading to an 0-1 start to the young season.

The second matchup would be a hard-fought game as the Storm battled with the Broncos through six innings and tied the game up at two off a run from junior infielder Tanner Morache. Cal Poly Pomona plated two late runs to drop the Storm once again.

The Storm jumped out to an early 3-1 lead in the third game when Glover blasted the first home run of the season over the right field wall and followed that up with another RBI in the third inning. Another strong start led to another slow finish for DSU. Cal Poly scored the next runs and dropped the Storm to 0-3.

Glover, an integrated studies major from Las Vegas, said he was happy with how the team fought.

“The team played well but we just couldn’t keep the momentum on our side.” Glover said. “CPP is a great team, they hit the ball really well and have one of the better pitching staffs we will face.

The fourth and final game of the series would be the strongest showing from the Storm. CPP jumped out to a 6-1 lead, but Dixie would storm back after a sac-fly from sophomore outfielder Miles Bice.

Sophomore infielder Drew McLaughlin and sophomore infielder Trey Kamachi got across the plate in the eighth inning, bringing the score to 6-4, setting up an exciting finish.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Morache got on base and that brought McLaughlin, the tying run, to the plate. McLaughlin battled the CPP pitcher to a full-count before grounding into a 6-4-3 double-play to end the game. Head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said he was pleased with the effort in the final game but disappointed with the overall play over the weekend.

“We didn’t play well in any phase of the game.” Pfatenhauer said. “We didn’t pitch well, didn’t run the bases intelligently, no one hit the ball very hard. It was a sub-par performance for what our expectations were.”

Dixie State has five days off before a series with Colorado Mesa University. CMU will come into St. George boasting a 2-0 record and No. 4 national ranking. Pfatenhauer is hoping for a better performance against the Mavericks.

“We will make some tweaks this week in practice.” Pfatenhauer said. “We’ll try to motivate our guys the best we can and get ready for Mesa.”

The series starts Friday, at 6 p.m. at Bruce Hurst Field.