Dixie State used a little “small ball” to break a sixth-inning tie on its way to a 9-5 victory over Hawai’i Hilo on Thursday night at Bruce Hurst Field. The Trailblazers have now won seven of their last nine to move to 13-18 overall, 9-12 in Pacific West Conference play.
DSU got off to a rocky start defensively as the Trailblazers committed two first-inning errors, which led to three unearned Vulcan runs. However, Dixie State rallied with a run in the home second on a Tyler Hollow RBI single and tied the game an inning later with a Joe Raymond run-scoring double and a Logan Porter sacrifice fly.
Tied at 4-4 in the sixth, the Trailblazers had two runners in scoring position and one out after a Hollow leadoff single and Kyle Hoffman base hit and stolen base. With the infield drawn in, freshman Jagun Leavitt laid down a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt to the first base side of the mound to drive in both runs and give DSU its first lead of the night at 6-4. Hollow scored easily from third base on the play, while Hoffman got a running start from second on the pitch and never broke stride as he hit the third base bag as Hilo pitcher Brandyn Lee-Lehano (L, 0-4) picked up the ball to throw to first for the out.
The Vulcans (11-14, 7-10 PacWest) made it a 6-5 game with a run in the seventh, but Dixie State answered with three more runs in the home eighth to put the game away.
The Trailblazers outhit UHH, 13-11, including a 4-for-4 effort from Hollow, which was the first collegiate four-hit game for the freshman, and Hoffman finished with three hits. Freshman hurler Jimmy Borzone (W, 1-0) worked 3.1 innings of one-run, four-hit relief with three strikeouts to earn his first collegiate victory, while senior Tanner Howell (S, 2) fanned three in 1.2 hitless innings to pick up his second save of the year.
The two teams meet again in game two of the series Friday at 6 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.dixiestateathletics.com and follow Dixie State on Twitter at @DixieAthletics.