UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | June 17, 2024

Senior night spoiled for DSU baseball

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   Dixie State University honored its seniors during the final home games of the baseball season against Hawaii Pacific University over the weekend.

   The Trailblazers entered the weekend with an overall record of 32-10 and were 10-8 in the Pacific West Conference, good enough for second in the standings.

   DSU hosted the HPU Sharks with a pair of doubleheaders to culminate the last four-game home series of the year for the Trailblazers.

   Sophomore pitcher Dylan File took the mound for DSU in the opening game of the series Friday.  He scattered eight hits while allowing three runs in six and 2/3 innings pitched. He secured the win, moving him to 5-1 on the year.

   “We pitched well,” head coach Chris Pfatenhauer said. “We had a lot of guys step up big for us, especially out of the bullpen.”

   Redshirt junior catcher Reece Lucero got the Trailblazers on the board with a single in the second inning. DSU then scored a pair of unearned runs in the third and fourth innings giving it a 3-1 lead.

   The Trailblazers scored their final run of the game in the fifth. Redshirt senior Tanner Morache got things started with a single. He advanced to second on a fielder’s choice before he stole third. He scored on a sacrifice fly from fellow redshirt senior first baseman Sam Hall, giving the Trailblazers a 4-3 lead.

   The Sharks threatened in the ninth. With two outs and runners on first and second, HPU catcher Steven Camberos singled to redshirt junior right fielder Trey Kamachi who threw the would-be tying run out at home plate, giving DSU the 4-3 win.

   “I liked the way our offense worked, said Morache, an integrated studies major from Vancouver, Canada. “We hit together for the most part. Anytime they got a lead, we were able to get it back.” 

   Game two of the doubleheader saw another stellar pitching performance by junior pitcher Mason Hilty. His only run allowed came in the first inning of the game. He allowed eight hits in his six complete innings pitched striking out six in the process.

   DSU scored 11 unanswered runs in the game, including eight runs in the first three innings of play. Redshirt junior Drew McLaughlin got things started for the Trailblazers with a solo homer in the first inning, his fifth longshot of the year.

   The Trailblazers put up a pair of runs in each of the first two innings, followed by four runs in the third.  Along with his homerun, McLaughlin also hit two doubles, the second of which sparked a two-run inning for DSU in the fifth, giving it a 10-1 lead.  McLaughlin finished going 3-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored.

   HPU’s attempts at a comeback were unsuccessful, and DSU claimed the 11-4 victory.

   “I think we swung the bats great,” Pfatenhauer said. “We did a good job of cutting down strikeouts and executing offensively.”

   The Trailblazers allowed two runs in the second inning to the Sharks during game one Saturday.  DSU quickly retaliated, however, scoring three runs in the third inning taking the lead 3-2. 

   Hall and junior infielder Tyler Mildenberg each had two-RBI doubles in the fourth as part of a five-run inning.  DSU never looked back as it scored a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings before securing the 10-2 runaway victory.

   The first four hitters in DSU’s lineup went a combined 9-16, drove in five RBIs, and also scored five runs. 

   “Our hitting is coming together, “said redshirt junior outfielder Jerome Hill II, an integrated studies major from Pittsburg, California. “When we get a lead, we need to be able to tack onto it to try and prevent them from closing the gap.”

   The rubber match of the series was senior night for the Trailblazers Saturday. DSU baseball says goodbye to seven seniors who took Bruce Hurst Field for the final time. Unfortunately, they would not walk off it with a win.

   The Sharks took an early advantage with three runs in the first inning. DSU only managed seven hits throughout the game.  It clawed its way back into the game by scoring a run in its half of the first inning and by platting three runs in the fourth to tie the game at four. 

   HPU would respond with runs in the fifth and sixth innings to put on sour spin on senior night, earning the 6-4 vitory.

   “I don’t think [senior night] played a factor in the game,” Pfatenhauer said. “We didn’t pitch well enough to be in the game.”

   Morache went 1-4 in his final home game. He currently has a 17-game hitting streak, his second such streak of the year. He has at least one hit in 43 of the Trailblazers 46 games this season. He also has 26 games this season in which he has at least two hits.  His DSU record 81 hits is tops in the PacWest Conference.  Morache also leads the conference in doubles (21) and runs scored (49).

   “It’s been a good year,” Morache said. “I want to do whatever it takes to help my team win. I’m not big on all of the individual stuff. It’s cool to get the attention I guess, but at the end of the day, if we don’t win, it doesn’t really mean anything.”

   Pfatenhauer talked about Morache’s success this season and what he has meant for DSU baseball.

   “My job will get harder without him,” he said. “He goes about his work professionally. We’ve had a few awesome players come through, but this season for him has been the best I have seen in my coaching career.”

   With the loss, DSU drops to 35-11 overall and 23-9 in the PacWest, two full games behind California Baptist University in the standings. It’s final four games of the season will be against Concordia University beginning Friday.