Late rally falls short as DSU bows out of NCAA Tournament

File photo, Dixie State University vs. Academy of Art University, St. George, Utah, Apr. 6, 2017, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

AZUSA, Calif. – Dixie State fell to UC-San Diego for the second time in the NCAA West Regional, dropping an 8-6 decision Monday afternoon. The loss knocked the Trailblazers out of the tournament and propelled the Tritons to the Division II College World Series later this week.

The Blazers spotted UCSD a six-run lead before coming alive in the sixth inning. Dixie State scored all of its runs in the final four innings, but spotted the Tritons two more that proved to be the margin of victory.

The game was scoreless till the third inning. UCSD scored three in both the third and fifth innings. The Blazers got two aboard in the sixth with an error and a hit-by-pitch. With two outs, Miles Bice singled to center field to score the runners.

The Blazers got one in the seventh on three consecutive singles by Drew McLaughlin, Tyler Baker and Trey Kamachi. In the eighth, DSU cut the lead to 6-4 when Reece Lucero batted in Jerome Hill II.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Tritons scored two more. The Blazers entered the ninth needing four or more runs to keep alive and the top of their lineup due up. After a ground out, Baker singled through the left side. Kamachi then doubled down the left field line to put runners at second and third. Two batters later, Tyler Mildenberg singled to right field to score two. Hill then singled to shortstop to put runners at the corners, but more importantly, the tying run aboard. Bice then came to the plate carrying the potential go-ahead run, but UCSD pitcher Troy Cruz got the senior outfielder to line out to center field to end the game and tournament.

The Blazers out-hit UCSD 11-8 and committed less errors (3-1). But the Blazers failed to take advantage of earlier opportunities, leaving 10 runners left on base.

Dixie State ends the season with a record of 39-14-1. UCSD moves on to the CWS next week.

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