The No. 9 Dixie State softball team closed the 2018 Cactus Classic with three victories on Sunday in Tucson, Arizona, sweeping its way to a 5-0 record at the event.
The Trailblazers (13-0) opened the day with a 2-1 victory over Franklin Pierce before rolling to a 17-4 win in five innings over Fort Lewis. DSU wrapped up the day with a thrilling 6-5 come-from-behind victory over Southern Nazarene, overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win on a Kenzie Sawyer walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh.
With the victories, the Trailblazers continue their undefeated run and push their program-best start to 13-0.
Dixie State built an early lead against Franklin Pierce in the first game of the day. Janessa Bassett opened the game with a leadoff triple to right-center field. Taylor Godfrey singled through the left side in the next at-bat to stake DSU to a 1-0 advantage.
Franklin Pierce countered with an RBI single in the top of the second to bring the score even at 1-1. Both teams then tightened up defensively and remained in the 1-1 deadlock through the next four innings.
The Trailblazers broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth when Dani Bartholf singled to center field to score Riley Tyteca from second. The RBI single provided the winning run, pushing the DSU lead to the final tally of 2-1.
Madi Dove then went to work in the top of the seventh, striking out two FPU batters to help seal the victory. Dove (1-0) earned her first win of the season in the pitcher’s circle with four strikeouts in her first start of the year. Bassett led the charge at the plate with two hits, while Godfrey also finished with two hits and an RBI.
Unlike the first game of the day, there was no shortage of scoring in the second game against Fort Lewis. Dixie State opened the scoring in the top of the first inning when Kori Gahn drove a sacrifice fly to center field to score Bassett, who had doubled to lead off the inning, from third.
Fort Lewis answered quickly with an RBI single to left field in the bottom of the first to tie the game at 1-1.
The Trailblazers countered with three runs on two hits in the top of the second to push the lead to 4-1. Bartholf scored Tyteca from second with a single to left field in the frame, while Bassett plated two runs with a two-RBI single up the middle. DSU added two more runs for a 6-1 lead in the top of the third when Sawyer belted a 2-RBI single up the middle.
The Skyhawks came alive in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs on two hits to pull to within 6-4. But FLC didn't get any closer.
Dixie State responded with 11 runs on six hits and one FLC error in the top of the fifth to jump to a 17-4 lead. The Trailblazers nearly batted through the order twice in the frame, sending 17 batters to plate.
DSU then retired the FLC side in order in the bottom of the fifth to seal the victory.
Bassett again led the way at the plate with two hits and three RBIs, while Tyteca, Sawyer and Bartholf also finished with two hits apiece and Brenna Hinck logged three RBIs. Alexandria Melendez (4-0) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle with three strikeouts in 3.2 innings pitched. Cambrie Hazel earned her first collegiate save after entering the game in the fourth inning.
Dixie State found itself in an early 3-0 hole in the final game of the 2018 Cactus Classic when Southern Nazarene scored three runs in the top of the first.
The Trailblazers began to chip away at the deficit in the bottom of the first. Godfrey started things off with a double to right center and later scored when Gahn singled to right field to cut the lead to 3-1. DSU plated two more runs in the bottom of the second to tie the game at 3-3. But the tie was short-lived.
The Crimson Storm took advantage of a DSU error and retook the lead at 4-3 in the top of the third on a two-out RBI double to left-center field.
Dixie State tied the game for a second time at 4-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Tyteca doubled to center field to score Meagan Anders from second. But, like the second inning, the tie was short-lived.
Southern Nazarene regained the advantage at 5-4 with a solo home run to left field in the top of the sixth. SNU appeared to tighten its grip on the momentum in the bottom half of the sixth, retiring the first two DSU batters. But, the Trailblazers refused to lose.
Bassett drove a two-out single to right field and then stole second, and DSU was right back in business. Godfrey then patiently waited for a pitch to hit, and drove the 3-0 offering to right field to score Bassett and tie the game at 5-5. And this time, the Trailblazers made sure the tie remained intact.
Hazel mowed down the three SNU batters in order, including two-consecutive strikeouts, to set up DSU’s seventh-inning dramatics.
Gahn opened the bottom of the seventh with a single through the left side. Bartholf then entered the game for Gahn as a pinch runner. Bartholf later stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Sawyer ended the game with a walk-off single to center field to score Bartholf from third and give DSU the 6-5 come-from-behind win.
Bassett, Godfrey, Gahn, Tyteca and Sawyer each logged multi-hit performances in the win. Hazel (6-0) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle with three strikeouts in 1.2 innings pitched after entering the game in the sixth inning. Alexis Barkwell also turned in a solid showing in the circle with four strikeouts in 4.2 innings pitched.
Dixie State is set to open Pacific West Conference play on Saturday at Karl Brooks Field with a doubleheader starting at noon against Concordia-Irvine.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].