ST. GEORGE — No. 25 Dixie State had its chances with several late-inning scoring opportunities Saturday, but could not capitalize as the Trailblazers dropped both ends of an RMAC baseball doubleheader to Colorado State-Pueblo at Bruce Hurst Field. DSU was not able to protect an early lead in losing the first of two seven-inning games, 14-11, before coming up short in the nightcap by a 9-7 count.
In game one, the Trailblazers bolted out of the gate with six first-inning runs and added another tally in the second on their way to a quick 7-1 lead. DSU pounded out three hits in the first-inning rally, including an RBI single from Tyson Fisher and a two-run safety from Tyler Hollow, while the Blazers scored two more runs on a costly CSUP error and a Braxton Ipson sacrifice fly.
However that lead would be short lived as the ThunderWolves (15-13, 10-5 RMAC) countered with 10 unanswered runs over the next three innings, with the big blow coming on a Robbie Espinosa pinch-hit three-run home run in a five-run fifth frame, as CSUP vaulted to an 11-7 advantage.
Trailing 14-8 in the home sixth, Dixie State struck for three runs on a Joe Raymond pinch-hit single and back-to-back bases-loaded walks issued to Lane Pritchard and Jake Engel to cut the deficit in half with two outs. CSUP reliever Bret Ricklefs would come on to retire DSU clean-up hitter Cade Spurlin on a deep flyout to center to end the threat, then worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh to thwart any chance of Blazer comeback win.
CSUP kept the momentum going to begin the nightcap as the ThunderWolves struck for three first-inning runs, but Dixie State answered with three runs of its own in its first offensive frame with a three-run homer off the bat of Tyson Fisher to knot the score at 3-3.
The ThunderWolves quickly counterpunched in the second with a three-run home run of their own from Dakota Popham as part of a five-run stanza and would extend to a 9-4 lead after three innings.Comment on this story
Dixie State (21-8, 11-4 RMAC) would chip away at the deficit with two runs in the fifth thanks to a Pritchard run-scoring triple and an Engel flyout to pull to within three at 9-6. As they did in the first game, the Trailblazers managed to again load the bases with two outs in the sixth, but managed just to plate only one run, which came on Engel walk.
Then in the home seventh, Fisher led off the frame with a single to bring up the potential tying run, but CSUP closer Andrew Coverly retired the next three Blazers he faced to help the ThunderWolves escape with the Saturday sweep.
Dixie State will look to salvage a series split as the two teams conclude their four-game series with the finale Sunday at noon.