No. 13 Dixie State softball took both ends of a Pacific West Conference doubleheader at Biola on Friday, holding off a late Eagles run for a 3-1 win in the opener before rallying for a 5-4 win in game two.
The Trailblazers (36-6, 20-6 PacWest) took the lead in the fifth inning in the opener, then turned back the Eagles in a bases-loaded situation in the seventh to clinch the win. DSU overcame a 4-2 deficit with a three-run fifth inning to seal the doubleheader sweep and series victory in the nightcap.
Dixie State jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the opener. Janessa Bassett drove the second pitch of the game up the middle for a leadoff single, stole second, then scored when Kenzie Sawyer singled to right field.
Biola wasted no time evening the score, tying the game at 1-1 with an RBI double down the left field line in the bottom of the first.
After three scoreless innings, the Trailblazers regained the lead with two more runs on two hits and one Biola error in the top of the fifth. Like the first inning, Bassett singled, stole second, then scored on a Bailey Gaffin RBI double to right field. DSU added another run on an Eagle error to push the score to the eventual final tally of 3-1.
Biola threatened to make a comeback in the bottom of the seventh, loading the bases with just one out. But Kaitlyn Delange made sure the Trailblazers would get the victory and made back-to-back sensational plays at second base to end the game.
Bassett and Sawyer finished with two hits each to lead DSU at the plate, while Cambrie Hazel (16-2) went the distance with four strikeouts to pick up her 16th victory of the season. With the win, Hazel set the DSU freshman single-season wins record (Lauren Folta, 2009; 15-6).
The Trailblazers broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the top of the third in the nightcap. With two outs and no one on base, Gaffin and Sawyer drew back-to-back walks. Jessica Gonzalez then worked to a full count and ripped the eighth pitch of the at-bat to the gap in right-center field for a two-run double to stake the visitors to a 2-0 lead.
The Biola bats came alive in the bottom of the fifth as the Eagles scored four runs on four hits, including two home runs, to take a 4-2 lead.
Unfazed, Dixie State responded with three runs in the top of the sixth. Kori Gahn drew a leadoff walk, and Meagan Anders entered as a pinch runner. Anders moved to second when Kaitlyn Delange singled through the right side. Brenna Hinck drew the second walk of the inning to load the bases. Gaffin then cleared the bases, blasting the payoff pitch down the left field line to give the Trailblazers a 5-4 lead.
The Eagles tried to rally with a single in the bottom of the sixth and a double in the seventh, but the DSU defense stifled each attempt to seal the comeback victory.
Delange was the only Trailblazer to record multiple hits, while Gonzalez and Gaffin plated all the runs with two and three RBIs, respectively. Alexandria Melendez tossed three solid innings with four strikeouts before exiting in the fourth. Alexis Barkwell (8-1) earned the win, allowing just two hits in the final 2.2 innings of the game.
Dixie State concludes its four-game trip with a doubleheader at Concordia-Irvine on Saturday at noon Pacific Time.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].