Dixie State baseball stays alive, eliminates PWC rival Cal Baptist

Dixie State's Jake Davison (5), Dixie State University vs. Point Loma Nazarene University, Baseball, St. George, Utah, Mar. 24, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

AZUSA, Calif. – Dixie State ousted Cal Baptist from the NCAA Tournament with a resounding 14-5 win in Azusa Saturday. The Lancers have ended Dixie State’s season two out of the last three years. Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer was happy to be on the other end of the scoreboard for once as Dixie State walloped CBU.

“Cal Baptist is a great rivalry for us,” he said. “Honestly, at this time of the year I want all of the PacWest teams to do well. I think it is great that we still have three teams playing on Saturday. But yeah, it is nice to knock them out instead of our season ending.”

After two scoreless innings, the Blazers put up six runs in the bottom of the third. The inning began with Trey Reineke drawing a walk on four straight pitches. Drew McLaughlin then singled through the right side, moving Reineke to third. Tyler Baker then grounded out to second base, but got the RBI as Reineke crossed home plate.

Trey Kamachi drew a walk. Cal Baptist pulled their starter. The reliever immediately walked Logan Porter. Then McLaughlin was given home on a balk. Tyler Mildenberg then drew a walk. His last pitch was wild and Kamachi scored on the play. Bryce Feist then hit a three-run homer to left field to give DSU a commanding 6-0 lead.

“(Dixie State) sped up the game,” said Cal Baptist head coach Gary Adcock. “We could not slow it down. Their lineup is senior-laden. They smelled blood in the water and then went after us.”

Dixie State’s Trey Reineke (14), file photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The Lancers halved the lead with their next at-bat. But the DSU offense kept rolling. Reineke again began the inning with a walk. McLaughlin followed that by reaching on a fielding error. Baker advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Porter then reached on a throwing error. Both runners crossed the plate to give DSU an 8-3 lead after four. In the fifth, the Blazers increased their lead back to six when Baker singled in Miles Bice.

“I felt good putting up three runs in the fourth,” said Adcock. “If we could have put up a zero for them in the bottom I think it would have been a different ballgame. Unfortunately the two errors in the inning cost us.”

In the top of the sixth, the Lancers added two more to pull within 9-5. They would not challenge again. Dixie State put the game out of reach in the seventh. Reece Lucero began the inning with a single to left field. Reineke then drew his third walk of the game to put runners at first and second. McLaughlin advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt. Baker drew a walk to load the bases. Then Logan Porter took a 1-2 pitch and put it over the left field fence for a grand slam and a 13-5 lead. Porter set the season record for RBIs with 72 on the hit.

The Blazers added an insurance run in the eighth when Lucero scored on a Baker single to center field.

“We drew 12 walks today,” said Pfatenhauer. “Our guys were patient. For a good hitting team, sometimes it is difficult to be disciplined and take pitches. Our guys did that today.”

“(Dixie State) beat up on us during the season, too,” said Adcock. “I had to remind myself then that we were young and they were not. I felt that we had closed the gap since our season series, but today we did not play well.”

Sean Hardman (4-0) picked up the win in relief. He teamed with Matt Mosca and Tyler Burdett to give up five runs on seven hits. Collectively, they struck out five batters.

Dixie State hit .424 as a team. Baker and Feist led the team with three hits apiece. Lucero and McLaughlin both had two hits. Porter’s grand slam gave him the team lead with 4 RBIs. Baker and Feist had three RBIs each.

The Trailblazers will now take Sunday off and play their next game on Monday at 11 a.m. Their opponent will be UC-San Diego, the team that beat them in the first game of the tournament. The Tritons eliminated the host team Azusa Pacific in the night game on Saturday, 11-3. Dixie State will have to beat UC-San Diego twice to advance to the NCAA Division II College World Series.

“The extra day will help us,” said Pfatenhauer. “We will evaluate our pitching staff tomorrow, but we feel that we will have both starters (Dylan) File and (Mason) Hilty available on Monday.”

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