Dixie State came up just short of its first four-game series sweep of the season as the Trailblazers split a Saturday twin bill with Hawai’i Hilo on Saturday afternoon at Bruce Hurst Field. DSU claimed game one by a 13-5 count before the Vulcans broke through with a 6-3 win in the nightcap. The Trailblazers wound up taking three of four from the Vulcans to win their third-straight Pacific West Conference series and moved to 15-19 overall and 11-13 in league play.
Dixie State loaded the bases in each of the first four innings of game one on its way to an early 10-2 lead. After being denied in the opening stanza, the Trailblazers plated three runs in the second thanks to a Bryce Feist RBI single and consecutive bases-loaded walks issued to Logan Porter and Jake Engel.
Hawai’i Hilo (12-16, 8-12 PacWest) came back with two runs in the third off junior right-hander Gabe Taylor to cut the deficit to 3-2, but the Trailblazers answered with four more runs in the home half of the frame to extend to a 7-2 advantage. After the first three Trailblazers reached to lead off the frame, Kyle Hoffman drove in the first run of the rally with a one-out hit, while Taylor helped his own cause with a two-run single two pitches later, as DSU sent nine batters to the plate.
Taylor struck again one inning later with another two-RBI hit as DSU scored three more runs en route to its seven-run cushion. Taylor, who finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a career-high five RBIs, lasted six innings and scattered 11 hits and four runs to win for the second time in as many outings. Meanwhile, junior reliever Chandler Greenfield (S, 1) limited UHH to one run and three in the final three innings to earn the save.
DSU rapped out 13 hits in the game, including two hits apiece for Hoffman, Jagun Leavitt and Bryce Feist, while Feist finished with a game-high four runs scored.
In the seven-inning nightcap, the Vulcans bolted out to a quick 3-0 lead, thanks in large part to a costly DSU fielding error and a two-out, two-run Jaryn Kanbara home run. However, DSU countered with three runs of its own in the home first on a Porter RBI single and a Jake Davison two-run base hit as five-straight Trailblazers reached with two outs in the frame.
UHH took the lead for good in a run in the third and plated insurance runs in the fifth and sixth frames to extend to a 6-3 lead. Meanwhile, Vulcan starter Travis Burleson and closer John Kea combined to hold DSU to just four total hits in the final six innings of play to help their side avoid the series sweep.
DSU connected for seven hits in the finale, with Tyler Hollow going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored to lead the Trailblazers offensively.
Dixie State wraps up its season-long 12-game homestand with a four-game set against Fresno Pacific next weekend at Bruce Hurst Field.
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.