UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 18, 2024

Red Storm baseball heats up

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   Dixie State University has equalled its largest winning streak of the season after sweeping the University of Hawaii-Hilo Vulcans and the Fresno Pacific University Sunbirds last week.

March 29

   The Storm got things going in the fifth inning as they plated the first run of the game on a wild pitch. They followed that up with another run in the sixth off a home run to right field by redshirt sophomore Cam Gust.

   UHH retaliated quickly, however, scoring three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. DSU would add a run in the home half of the eighth, helping send the game into extra innings. Junior outfielder Miles Bice played hero for the Storm as he drove home the game-winning run in the 10th on a single to center field giving his team the victory, 4-3.

   It would take four runs in the second game for the Storm to come out victorious. DSU struck first blood in the opening inning with a run on a bases loaded hit by pitch.

   Two runs in the third and one in the sixth were all DSU needed to secure the 4-0 win. Senior pitcher Chance Abrath pitched a complete game shutout while scattering five hits and allowing no walks in the winning effort. 

   “Our pitchers gave us a chance [to win],” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “It might not have been the best week that we pitched, but when you can be that good on offense, it will bail you out of some things.”

Thursday 

   After having swept UHH, DSU hosted the Fresno Pacific University Sunbirds for a four-game series.

   In game one, the Sunbirds jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, scoring a run in each of the first two innings of play to erase the deficit. 

   After allowing two unearned runs in the third, DSU’s bats exploded for five runs in the bottom of the inning, two of which where scored off the bat of redshirt junior Reece Lucero, who finished going 3-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored, giving DSU a 7-4 lead. 

   The Storm would also add runs in the fifth and sixth innings, extending their lead to 9-4. The Sunbirds fought back, however, plating two runs in the top of the eighth. The comeback attempt would prove to be futile as DSU slammed the door to earn the 9-6 victory. 

   Five of the nine hitters for the Storm finished with at least two hits, including junior infielder Tyler Mildenberg, who was a perfect 3-3 at the plate with an RBI.

   “I think we have been hitting well as a team,” said redshirt junior outfielder Jerome Hill II, an integrated studies major from Walnut Creek, California. “Our pitchers have been throwing strikes, but I just think we’ve been playing really well as a whole.”

Friday

   Both games saw the Storm score in double figures behind a combined 25 hits. Redshirt senior first baseman Sam Hall led the Storm, going a combined 6-9 with 11 RBIs and three runs scored.

   “I just tried to go back to the basics and tried to simplify everything,” said Hall, a criminal justice major from Ogden. “I was just trying to put a good swing on the ball. and I was fortunate enough to hit a couple balls hard.”

   Senior pitcher Jeremy Alderman allowed just one run and five hits in his five innings of work, earning him his third win of the season.

   DSU scored nine runs in the first three innings of play before tacking on six runs in the home half of the fifth inning to take a commanding 15-1 lead. The Sunbirds would respond with two runs in the sixth, but the deficit would prove to be insurmountable as the Storm cruised to the 15-3 win.

   Game two was similar to the first game of the day as DSU jumped on the Sunbirds to the tune of eight runs in the first three innings. Hall put his stamp on the second inning with a two-out grand slam. Hall would finish a double shy of hitting for the cycle in the game.

   “We really emphasize scoring first,” Hall said. “That gives our guy on the mound a little bit of breathing room and sets the tone early.”

   Senior pitcher Kolton Brost allowed only one run on four hits while throwing a complete game, giving him two wins on the season. 

   The Storm added a run in each of the fifth and sixth innings as they earned the victory, 10-1. 

Saturday

   DSU continued its early-inning dominance as it took the advantage of 7-0 in after three complete innings. FPU quickly closed the gap as it would score a run in the fourth and three runs in the fifth to cut the lead to 7-4.

   Junior pitcher Mason Hilty came in on relief and pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing five hits and striking out five to earn him the win.

   “Hilty had really good stuff today,” Pfatenhauer said. “He’s been good all year. He pounded the zone, and we needed that.”

   The Storm would add a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings to seal the victory, 9-4. Redshirt senior infielder Tanner Morache was 4-5 with an RBI and three runs scored in the effort.

   During the 10-game win streak for the Storm, they are outscoring their opponents 42-7 in the first two innings of play. Pfatenhauer talked about how important that stat is to his team.

   “With our offense, we like to get ahead early,” he said. “We feel like it gives our pitchers a cushion and we can keep playing our game.”

   Three Storm players were awarded PacWest Confernce awards this week. Hall was awarded co-player of the week after going 14-33 with 12 RBIs and eight runs scored.

   Hilty pitched 9 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball during the week, allowing just seven hits while striking out 11 and walking two batters.

   Lucero went 12-18 in five games during the week.  He, along with Hall, drove in 12 RBIs and has hit safely in five straight games.

   DSU will now travel to California to take on Point Loma University in a four-game set beginning Friday.