It was a successful eight-game road trip for Dixie State University baseball as it won seven of its eight games against Academy of Art University and Holy Names University last week.
After taking the first two games of the series, the Storm continued its winning ways in a doubleheader against the AAU Hawks. Offense for DSU was at a plenty as it scored 13 runs in game one.
Redshirt senior infielder Sam Hall brought home the first three runs for the Storm. Hall singled in the first inning and hit a two-run home run in the fourth to give his team a 3-0 advantage.
The DSU defense wouldn’t allow its first run until the bottom of the seventh inning. The Storm’s bats came alive, however, as they scored 10 runs in the final four innings of play, giving them the 13-2 victory.
Freshman pitcher Preston Hannay got the win from the mound as he pitched a scoreless six innings, allowing six hits and striking out three Hawks.
“When you have guys that can pitch like that, its a huge momentum booster, said redshirt senior infielder Tanner Morache, a integrated studies major from Vancouver, Canada. “Wining those games on a tough road trip like that is huge for us.”
Game two saw DSU send 10 batters to the plate in the second inning while pushing across six runs in the process. The Storm followed that up by scoring runs in each of the third and sixth innings before finishing the series sweep with an 8-5 victory.
“We were happy with our offensive production,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “We like to score early so that we can tack on runs later in the game. We always try to win every inning.”
Junior pitcher Sean Hardman notched his second victory from the mound this season as he only allowed one run on one hit while striking out five Hawks for the Storm.
“On a long road trip like that, it’s important to have starters pitch like they did,” Pfatenhauer said. “We told them that they needed to give us everything they could, and they did just that. It really helped keep our other guys fresh.”
DSU struck first blood in the game as it scored a run in both the third and fourth innings. Hardman’s only allowed run was in the fifth. The Storm would add two insurance runs in the eighth and pushed one more run across in the ninth before securing the victory, 5-2.
DSU recorded 10 hits in the game, two of which came from Morache, including one that sailed over the right centerfield fence for his second homerun of the year.
The Storm jumped out to an early lead in the first inning, scoring two runs. Their bats cooled off, though, as they only recorded two hits over the next four innings of play.
The Hawks scored two runs in the fourth inning and three runs in the fifth inning. DSU recorded a run in the sixth but could not complete the comeback as HNU earned the victory, 5-3.
Sophomore pitcher Dylan File took the mound in game two and had, arguably, his best outing of the season. File shut out the Hawks over seven complete innings of work. He stuck out nine, allowed just three hits, and did not walk a single batter, earning him his third win of the season.
“I hit my spots really well,” said File, a criminal justice major from St. George. “I tweaked a few things in my mechanics, and it worked really well. I was able to pound the bottom of the [strike zone], and it sharpened my off speed.”
DSU cruised to a 3-0 victory over HNU. Redshirt junior outfielder Ryan Rodriguez went 2-4 with an RBI in the winning effort.
“We have a really good defense,” File said. “We know that if we score early, we have the defense to shut them down.”
The rubber match of the four-game series saw a combined eleven runs scored in the first inning of play. DSU sent 12 batters to the plate in the opening frame and scored seven runs. The Hawks answered with four runs in their half the first inning.
“We had guys that played really well,” Pfatenhauer said. “We just need to be more consistent. We’ve shown flashes of good hitting or pitching, but we need to work hard at doing it all the time.”
Redshirt freshman infielder Bryce Feist plated three runs on a home run in the fourth inning. Feist finished going 2-5 with four RBIs and scored two runs, helping the Storm to the 10-6 victory.
Morache who was recently awarded his second Player-of-the-Week award of the season says the individual recognition is nice but could go without them.
“It gives you a little bit of confidence,” he said. “If I’m able to do what I have been doing to help our team win, then I’m OK with that just as much as the awards.”
DSU will return home where it will play 16 of its next 20 games. It will begin the home stand with a series against the University of Hawaii Vulcans beginning Monday, followed by a matchup against Fresno Pacific University March 31.