No. 15 Dixie State came away with a split of a Friday doubleheader against two different opponents on a marathon day of baseball at Bruce Hurst Field. The Trailblazers (2-1) dropped their first game of the day to Montana State Billings by a 15-7 count, and then they could not protect a ninth-inning lead in the nightcap against Cal State San Bernardino before eventually claiming a 9-8 walk-off win in 11 innings.
Against MSUB, the Yellowjackets (2-1) bolted out to an early 8-0 lead on the strength of a two-run second inning, followed by a six-run third frame. MSUB pounded out five hits in the third, highlighted by a two-run homer off the bat of Jalen Garcia, followed by a three-run blast from Andrew Schleuser before the first out of the inning was recorded.
Dixie State began the chip away at the deficit with two runs in the home half of the third, which included the first collegiate hit and home run from freshman Alec Flemetakis that led off the stanza. Junior Bryce Feist connected for his first homer of the year in the fifth, a two-run shot as part of a three-run rally, and DSU tacked on single runs in the sixth and seventh innings to pull to within 8-7.
However, that was as close as Dixie State got as the Yellowjackets answered with two runs in the eight before erupting for five more runs in the ninth to put the game away.
DSU rapped out 11 hits in the loss, two apiece for Flemetakis, Feist, Kyle Hoffman and Gabe Taylor, while Feist finished with a team-high three RBIs. Schleusner led the way for MSUB with four hits and six RBIs, while Garcia went 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored.
In the nightcap vs. CSUSB (0-2), the Trailblazers scored the game’s first run without benefit of a hit in the third inning as Flemetakis was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. The freshman then advanced to second on a wild pitch, was bunted to third on a Gabe Taylor sacrifice and came home after a Feist flyout.
Meanwhile, junior Jayden Murray (ND) set down the first 10 Coyotes he faced with six strikeouts in his first 3.1 innings, but the Coyotes managed to push across the tying run on an Alec Ceniceros single with two outs in the fourth.
Dixie State answered with two runs in the home fourth before breaking the game open with a five-run fifth inning. Sophomore Jake Engel provided the big blow in the frame as he connected for a three-run home run to left-center, his first collegiate long ball, while Taylor drove home two more runs on a two-out single later in the frame that pushed the DSU cushion to 8-1.
DSU then turned the game over to the bullpen, and for the next four innings, the freshman duo of Brecken Lewis and Jack Gonzales delivered as they combined to limit Cal State San Bernardino to four hits during that span.
It was still an 8-1 ballgame in the ninth before the Coyotes mounted a furious comeback, scoring seven runs on four hits (five in the inning) and a pair of crucial Trailblazer miscues on the infield after two outs were recorded to tie the game and force extra innings. Shawn Porthan started the rally with a two-run single, which was followed by a DSU throwing error on a third strike in the dirt that loaded the bases and another two-run base hit from Jacob Allen, which pulled CSUSB to with 8-5.
Gabe Chavez then stepped up and connected for a two-run double that cut the DSU lead to 8-7. The Trailblazers then thought they had escaped with the win as DSU reliever Brad Danzeisen induced a Mando Rodriguez infield pop-up, but a defensive miscommunication allowed the ball to drop in the infield and allowed Chavez to scamper home from second to knot the score at 8-8.
In the bottom of the 11th, Logan Porter reached on a leadoff double and advanced to third on a Jagun Leavitt sacrifice. Junior Kade Cloward then stepped up and lined a 2-2 pitch to left field to drive home Porter to end the game.
DSU finished with 10 more hits in the win, including a 3-for-3 effort with three RBIs for Taylor. Murray finished with eight strikeouts in four innings of work but did not figure in the decision, while Tyler Rosas (W, 1-0) fanned three and scattered two hits in 2.1 innings to earn the win in relief.
In the first game of the day, MSUB defeated CSUSB, 12-5.
Dixie State will again take on the Yellowjackets and Coyotes in another split doubleheader on Saturday. DSU and MSUB play at 11:30 a.m., followed by a matchup between the Trailblazers and Coyotes at 3 p.m.
Steve Johnson is the Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations and Collegiate Licensing at Dixie State University. For more DSU Athletics news, please visit www.dixieathletics.com and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.