The No. 7 Dixie State softball team took both ends of a Pacific West Conference doubleheader, 5-0 and 11-2, over Dominican on Saturday in San Rafael, California, clinching a sweep of its six-game Bay Area trip in the process.
The Trailblazers (32-4, 16-4 PacWest) needed extra innings to edge the Penguins in game one, as Jessica Gonzalez hit a grand slam in the eighth inning to help clinch the win. Cambrie Hazel tossed another gem, logging her fifth no-hitter of the year with a career-high 14 strikeouts. DSU flipped the script in game two, hitting two home runs en route to a nine-run win to sweep the doubleheader.
The first game began as a pitcher’s duel, and neither team managed more than one combined base runner in the first three and a half innings. Dominican bucked the trend in the fourth inning, putting runners on with a DSU error and fielder’s choice. However, the Trailblazers worked out of the jam to keep the game at a scoreless tie.
Dixie State looked to break the tie in the fifth when Gonzalez singled up the middle for the first hit of the game. Kenzie Sawyer and Dani Bartholf were each hit by a pitch later in the inning, loading the bases with two outs. But the game remained scoreless, as a Kaitlyn Delange line drive in the next at-bat was snared by the Dominican second baseman to end the inning.
The Trailblazers also placed two runners on base in the seventh inning, but again could not manage to plate any runs, and the game went to extra innings.
Dixie State wasted no time taking control of the game in the eighth inning. Janessa Bassett doubled to left field to open the frame, then moved to third on a fielder’s choice. Kori Gahn later singled to score Bassett and load the bases. Two pitches later, Gonzalez crushed the first DSU grand slam of the season over the fence in left field to stake the visitors to a 5-0 lead.
The Trailblazers retired the Penguins in order in the bottom of the eighth to seal the victory.
Gonzalez led the charge at the plate with her single and grand slam, while Hazel (14-2) recorded her fifth no-hitter of the season with a career-high 14 strikeouts.
The Trailblazers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of game two when Bassett scored from third on a Bailey Gaffin RBI single to center field. In a virtual carbon copy of the first inning, Bassett scored again from third in the third inning on a Gaffin RBI groundout to extend the lead to 2-0.
Sawyer opened the fourth inning with a double to center field, then scored when Bartholf belted her first home run of the season to left field. DSU added another run later in the frame when Emma Sweet scored on a Dominican error to push the lead to 5-0.
Dixie State kept things rolling in the fifth inning adding three more runs to build an 8-0 lead. Gahn opened the frame with a double to right field. Riley Tyteca replaced Gahn as a pinch runner and later scored on a Gonzalez sacrifice fly to right field. Sweet plated the final run of the inning with a single through the right side.
Dominican scored its first run of the day in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single up the middle to cut the lead to 8-1 and extend the game past the fifth inning.
The Trailblazers put the finishing touches on the day with three more runs in the seventh inning. Sawyer and Cassidy Morton hit back-to-back singles to open the inning, followed by a Bartholf walk. Sweet drew a bases-loaded walk during the ensuing at-bat to earn an RBI. Morton later scored on a passed ball, and Taylor Godfrey drove a sacrifice fly to center field to extend the advantage to 11-1.
The Penguins added another run in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single through the left side to push the score to the final tally of 11-2.
Sawyer finished with a team-high three hits, while Gaffin, Bartholf and Sweet each finished with two RBIs. Alexandria Melendez (9-1) earned the win, allowing just one hit with three strikeouts in 4.0 innings pitched. Alexis Barkwell entered in the fifth inning and logged two strikeouts in the final three innings.
Dixie State now returns to Karl Brooks Field for a crucial four-game PacWest series next weekend against No. 17 California Baptist.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].