The No. 19 Dixie State softball team closed the 2018 regular season with a doubleheader sweep, 8-7 and 8-5, over Academy of Art on Saturday at Karl Brooks Field.
The Trailblazers (38-8, 22-8 PacWest) honored five seniors prior to the start of the doubleheader as Janessa Bassett, Kenzie Sawyer, Alexis Barkwell, Madi Dove and Cassidy Morton played in their final regular-season games at Karl Brooks Field.
Dixie State rallied for an 8-7 win, scoring four runs in the ninth inning, in extra innings in game one, before leading wire-to-wire for an 8-5 win to clinch the doubleheader sweep in game two.
The Trailblazers broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third of game one. Kaitlyn Delange singled up the middle with one out, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bassett. Bailey Gaffin got DSU on the scoreboard with an RBI single down the left-field line, scoring Delange from second to stake the home squad to a 1-0 lead.
Dixie State added another run in the bottom of the fifth. Bassett singled up the middle, stole second, then later scored on an ART-U fielding error to push the lead to 2-0.
The Urban Knights responded with a two-run home run in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 2-2. ART-U added another run in the top of the seventh to take a 3-2 lead. But the lead didn’t last long.
The Trailblazers sent the game to extra innings when Brenna Hinck drove an RBI single to left field to score Bassett from second and tie the game at 3-3.
Academy of Art countered with another home run in the top of the eighth, a solo shot to retake the lead at 5-4.
Dixie State stayed alive once more in the bottom of the eighth. After a Kori Gahn single and a pair of groundouts, Delange tied the game at 5-5 with an infield single to push the game to the ninth inning.
The visitors appeared to seize momentum in the top of the ninth, scoring three runs on four hits to build a 7-4 advantage.
Unfazed, DSU responded with four runs on three hits in the bottom of the ninth to rally and earn an 8-7 win. Sawyer, Dani Bartholf and Taylor Godfrey each recorded an RBI in the inning, while DSU scored the winning run on ART-U miscue.
Three Trailblazers finished with multi-hit games, led by Gaffin with three hits. Cambrie Hazel struck out three ART-U batters and allowed five hits in 7.2 innings pitched, while Alexandria Melendez (10-3) earned the win.
Dixie State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first in game two. Gaffin, Jessica Gonzalez and Gahn each picked up an RBI in the frame. The Trailblazers added to the lead with another run in the bottom of the second when Delange scored on a Gaffin infield single to push the advantage to 4-0.
Academy of Art cut the lead in half with two runs on two hits in the top of the fourth, pulling to within 4-2.
The Trailblazers countered with four runs on four hits in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead back to 8-2. Hinck and Gaffin recorded back-to-back RBI infield singles, while Sawyer logged the highlight of the frame with a two-run triple to center field.
The Urban Knights tallied three runs in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to 8-5 and looked to add more, but Delange ended the game with an acrobatic catch on a line drive to second base.
Hinck led the charge at the plate in game two, going 4-for-4 with an RBI, while Gaffin, Sawyer and Gahn each finished with two hits. Barkwell (9-1) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, while Hazel recorded her fifth save of the year.
Dixie State now awaits the NCAA Division II Softball Selection Show on Monday to learn its opponent and playing location for the NCAA Division II West Regionals. The show will be streamed live on NCAA.com on Monday, at 8 a.m. MST.
Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at [email protected].