Dixie State University baseball is heading back in the right direction as it has won three of its last four games.
The Storm currently sit at an overall record of 15-5, but due to three losses to Pacific West Conference-leading California Baptist University, they are just 3-3 in conference play. Two of those wins came against Academy of Art University Monday.
The Storm are led by redshirt senior infielder Tanner Morache, whose .422 batting average is good for second place in the PacWest Conference. Redshirt junior outfielder Trey Kamachi also sits inside the top 10 with an average of .394, good for sixth on the list.
Two Storm players have been named conference players of the week so far this season. Morache was given the honor Feb. 8 after going 8-16 in the weekend sweep against Cal State San Bernardino. He was followed by redshirt junior infielder Drew Mclaughlin the following week, going 9-16 against Montana State Billings.
DSU has played in eight games over the past two weeks, beginning March 3 against conference-leading CBU.
Redshirt sophomore infielder Cam Gust gave the Storm a 3-1 lead with a homerun to right field in the sixth inning.
DSU trailed 4-3 going into the final inning. It managed to push across a run on a throwing error to force extra innings. The effort proved to be futile as CBU would put runners on second and third in the top of the tenth. The Lancers scored the go-ahead and game-winning run on a wild pitch, giving them a 5-4 victory.
“We’ve just got to regroup and go back to work,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said after the game. “Our kids care, and they are passionate about what they do.”
DSU allowed 10 runs over the first five innings of play in game one. The Storm managed just two runs in the game despite recording 10 hits. DSU committed three errors in the game, which helped the Lancers to the 12-2 route.
In game two, the Storm jumped out to an early lead as it scored a run in the second inning. The Lancers quickly responded with a four-run inning in the third. DSU plated a run in its half of the fourth inning to bring to score to 4-2.
With its back against the wall in the final inning, DSU scored two runs to force its fifth extra inning game of the year. The Storm would prevail as junior outfielder Trey Reineke drove home the game-winning run, giving them the 5-4 win.
“We didn’t pitch well all weekend long,” Pfatenhauer said following the game. “We don’t have to type of team that is going to be able to compete against 13 or 14 runs a game.”
In the rubber match of the four-game series, CBU struck first blood as it plated four runs in the third inning of play, followed by two runs in the fifth. DSU would keep the game close, though, as it scored four runs over the same time frame.
After a solo homerun by redshirt junior outfielder Ryan Rodriguez in the seventh inning brought the Storm within one, the wheels came off for DSU in the top half of the eighth.
CBU would send 10 batters to the plate as it put six runs on the board. The six-run rally was all done with two outs in the inning. The Lancers would add another run in the ninth inning to secure the victory over the Storm 13-5.
“We just didn’t play well as a whole,” Pfatenhauer said after the series. “We know that we’ve got work to do, and we’ll be able to work on those things in practice.”
DSU surrendered two runs in the first inning to the Knights but retaliated with three runs in the fifth. After allowing another run in the sixth, the Storm scored two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth to secure the 6-3 victory.
In the second game, DSU struck first blood as at pushed across three runs in the first four innings of play. The Storm would score two more runs in the seventh on their way to the 5-1 victory.
DSU finished its series against AAU Tuesday (scores unavailable by press time) and will wrap up its season-long eight-game road trip against Holy Names University beginning Thursday.