Dixie State opened its final Pacific West Conference road swing in fine fashion as the Trailblazers posted an 8-3 victory over Biola in the first game of a four-game series Thursday at Eagles Diamond. DSU (19-20, 15-14 PacWest) won for the 13th time in its last 17 games, while head coach Chris Pfatenhauer recorded career victory No. 250 (198 at DSU) in his 300th career game as Dixie State skipper.
The Trailblazers bolted out to a quick 5-0 lead after three innings thanks in large part to three early Eagle (25-14, 17-12 PacWest) errors. DSU cashed in two Biola miscues for three runs in the first, while another Eagles error led to another run in the second. Dixie State then extended to a five-run cushion in the third when Jake Davison singled home Logan Porter, who legged out his team-leading 10th double of the season to lead off the frame.
Meanwhile, senior southpaw Matt Mosca held Biola hitless in his first time through the order as he retired nine of the first 10 Eagles he faced. However, Biola managed to solve Mosca in the fourth as the first two Eagle batters reached ahead of clean-up hitter Ryan Gallegos, who got his side on the board with a three-run home run that trimmed the DSU lead to 5-3.
That served as the only blemish on the day for the left-hander as he quickly rebounded by retiring the final three batters in that stanza and held Biola hitless in the fifth. Mosca (W, 5-3) struck out a career-high eight and surrendered just the three runs and two hits in five innings complete to record his second-straight winning decision.
After escaping a seventh-inning jam with their two-run lead intact, the Trailblazers struck for two more runs in the eighth on a two-run suicide squeeze bunt by Bryce Feist. Joe Raymond doubled to lead off the frame, which was followed by a Porter walk and a wild pitch that moved both runners into scoring position. Feist then stepped up and pushed a 1-0 pitch down the first base line that easily scored Raymond, while Porter broke with the pitch with the infield drawn in and managed to beat the throw home from first base to score the second run.
Dixie State tacked on another insurance run in the ninth on a Kyle Hoffman (one) solo home run to left field, while three Trailblazer relievers combined to limit Biola to just five hits and struck out six in the final four innings to close out the game. Senior closer Tanner Howell (S, 5) fanned three in 2.1 IP to collect his fifth save of the year.
The Trailblazers outhit Biola, 10-7, with Gabe Taylor leading the way with three hits and a run scored, while Porter walked twice to go with his double and three runs scored. Davison and Feist each finished with two RBIs.
The two teams will continue their four-game set with a doubleheader Friday beginning at 1 p.m. MT.
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.