Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics
Dixie State center fielder Janessa Bassett connects on her third home run of the day on Thursday in a 16-0 win over Western Washington.

No. 9 Dixie State softball rolled to two five-inning finishes on Thursday on the first day of the 2018 Easton Classic at the Canyon Softball Complex in St. George. The Trailblazers (4-0) defeated Metro State-Denver by a 13-5 count in the first game, before closing the day with a 16-0 triumph over Western Washington.

Dixie State hit .415 as a team on Thursday, combining for 29 runs and 25 RBIs on 22 hits. Janessa Bassett, who was named to the NFCA/Schutt Sports Division II National Player of the Year watch list on Thursday, enjoyed a career day at the plate in the sweep. Bassett went 4-of-7 with six RBIs and crushed three home runs to double her career home run tally. Jessica Gonzalez also enjoyed a solid day at the plate and a hit home run in each game for a total of four RBIs. Brenna Hinck made the most of her six plate appearance and recorded three hits, including a solo home run against Western Washington, and drew three walks.

The Trailblazers also turned in a sound defensive performance, highlighted by Cambrie Hazel in the win over the Vikings. Hazel notched a career-best six strikeouts while holding WWU hitless in three innings of work for her second win of the season.

Game one

Dixie State wasted no time building a lead vs. Metro State-Denver. After retiring three of the first four MSUD batters, the Trailblazers jumped to a 1-0 advantage when Bassett belted the payoff pitch over the right-center field wall. Kori Gahn, Kenzie Sawyer and Hinck also pitched in with RBI hits in the frame to push the lead to 4-0.

In a carbon copy of the first inning, Bassett worked the leadoff at-bat of the second inning to a full count, then blasted the payoff pitch to the same spot beyond the right-center field fence for her second home run of the game. The blast pushed the DSU lead to 5-0.

The Trailblazers tacked on four more runs in the third inning with three hits and an MSUD error. Gonzalez opened the frame with DSU’s third-consecutive leadoff home run, digging the 1-2 pitch out of the dirt for a solo blast to left field. Kaitlyn Delange, Bassett and Riley Tyteca added RBI hits in the inning to help push the lead to 9-0.

The Roadrunners answered with five runs on four hits in the top of the fifth inning to cut the lead to 9-5, and it seemed the game was destined for a full seven innings. But the Trailblazers had other plans.

Dixie State countered with four runs in the bottom of the fifth to clinch the 13-5 victory. Delange started the scoring with an RBI single up the middle, followed by a Bailey Gaffin two-RBI double to left-center field. Gahn ended the game at the next at-bat with a walk-off single through the left side.

Alexandria Melendez (2-0) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, striking out six MSUD batters while allowing five hits in 4.2 innings pitched.

Game two

Both teams struggled to get base runners aboard through the first two innings against Western Washington. Both pitchers recorded four strikeouts through the first two frames, and the game seemed destined to be a pitcher’s duel.

Gonzalez broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third when she belted a towering two-run home run to left field on the first pitch of the at-bat to give DSU a 2-0 lead.

Hinck opened the fourth inning with DSU’s sixth home run of the day to push the lead to 3-0. The Trailblazers added 10 more runs in the inning as six different players recorded an RBI in the frame. In all, Dixie State scored 11 runs on four hits and four WWU errors in the inning to jump to a 13-0 lead.

The Trailblazers closed the scoring in the fifth inning with three more runs as Destiny Diaz belted an RBI double for her first career hit. Sawyer and Taylor Godfrey also added an RBI each in the frame to push the score to the final tally of 16-0.

Hazel (2-0) tossed three shutout innings with six strikeouts to earn the win in the pitcher’s circle, while Alexis Barkwell recorded two strikeouts in two innings of work to close the victory.

The Trailblazers return to play at the 2018 Easton Classic on Friday vs. Colorado State-Pueblo at 3 p.m.

Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at keric.seegmiller@dixie.edu.