ST. GEORGE — No. 29/22 Dixie State Baseball survived a pair of furious late-inning Colorado-Colorado Springs rallies to escape with both ends of a Sunday seven-inning doubleheader, 6-5 and 11-10, at Bruce Hurst Field. With the sweep, the Trailblazers pushed their winning streak to seven straight to move to 17-4 overall, 7-0 in RMAC play.
In game one, Dixie State led 3-0 through five innings, opening the scoring with a run in the third on a Tyler Hollow RBI double, before plating two more runs on a Jake Brown two-bagger in the fourth. The early run support bolstered a strong start from sophomore lefthander Jack Gonzales (W, 4-0), who limited UCCS (12-9, 4-3 RMAC) to just one hit through his first five innings of work, though he did escape a pair of jams in the second and fourth frames to keep the Mountain Lions off the board.
UCCS managed to break through against Gonzales in the sixth when Evan Richards cashed in a one-out walk with a two-run home run to right-center to cut the DSU lead to 3-2, which spelled the end of the southpaw’s day. DSU closer Brayden Bonner then came on to get the final two outs of the frame to maintain the Blazers’ slim lead.
Dixie State answered with three big two-out insurance runs in the home sixth. Brown walked and Braxton Ipson singled to start the rally, then after Ipson stole second, Bryce Feist came up with a clutch two-run single to center field to extend the DSU lead to 5-2. Feist then stole second and would scamper home on two Mountain Lion throwing errors on the play to push the advantage to four runs.
In the UCCS seventh, the Mountain Lions led off the stanza with three straight singles off of Bonner and would trim the deficit to 6-3 on a Matt Clarke RBI flyout. Then with two outs in the frame, Jake Anderson laced a double off the paint down the right field line to pull his side to within a single run. However the rally would end there as Bonner got Richards to ground out to shortstop to end the game.
Ipson and Jake Engel each collected two hits for the Trailblazers, who outhit UCCS 9-6 in the win. Gonzales struck out four and surrendered just two runs and two hits in 5.1 innings to win for the fourth time in five starts.
The nightcap featured an early punch/counterpunch between the two sides as the Mountain Lions drew first blood with a Richards home run in the second inning. DSU answered in the home second when Cade Spurlin connected on his fourth homer of the year, a solo blast to right-center to knot the game at 1-1, but UCCS came right back in third with a two-run shot off the bat of Anderson that gave his side a 3-1 lead.
DSU’s offense then went off, scoring 10 runs over the next three innings to bolt to a commanding 11-3 advantage. The Blazers broke the game open with five runs in the third, starting with a Feist two-run homer to left field after an Ipson leadoff walk. Later in the frame, Spurlin gave Dixie State its first lead of the game with a two-out RBI double, then after Jake Engel was hit by a pitch, Kaid Urban doubled to the wall in right-center to drive in both Spurlin and Engel to spot DSU a 6-3 lead.
Dixie State would tack on three more runs in the fourth thanks to a Lane Pritchard double and a massive two-run Tyson Fisher home run deep over the wall in left. Ipson and Feist then struck again with a pair of RBI hits in the fifth to give DSU its eight-run cushion.1 comment on this story
The Mountain Lions again mounted one more charge in their final at-bat as the first three UCCS hitters reached on a pair of hits and a DSU error. Anderson then quickly unloaded them with his second home run of the game to cut the Blazer lead in half at 11-7. UCCS kept the momentum going as it plated two more runs, aided by another DSU error, to pull to within 11-9 before the Trailblazers could register the first out of the frame.
UCCS managed to push another run across when pinch hitter Tyler Matheny was plunked with the bases loaded and two outs. However that would be as close as the Mountain Lions would get as DSU reliever Colton Harris got Anderson to fly out to right field in his second plate appearance of the inning to close out the DSU win.
Dixie State will look to complete its second straight series sweep to open RMAC play as the two sides meet in the series finale at Bruce Hurst Field on Monday at 11 a.m.