Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics
Dixie State junior Riley Tyteca connects on a three-run walk-off home run over New Mexico Highlands.

The Dixie State softball team battled to a doubleheader sweep of New Mexico Highlands at Karl Brooks Field on Saturday, rallying for a come-from-behind victory in each game.

The Trailblazers (31-10, 25-9 RMAC) overcame a 3-0 deficit to claim a 4-3 walk-off win in the series opener before erasing a 1-0 deficit to earn a 4-1 walk-off win in the second game. Riley Tyteca belted both walk-off hits, including a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh of game two to clinch the sweep.

New Mexico Highlands wasted no time building a lead in the series opener, scoring three runs on two hits in the top of the first with one out and the bases still loaded. Cambrie Hazel entered the game for DSU and promptly ended the inning, striking out the next two NMHU batters.

The Trailblazers slowly chipped away at the 3-0 deficit, scoring one run in the second, fifth, and sixth innings to tie the game at 3-3. Kasey Crawford scored the first DSU run of the game in the second. Crawford singled to right field and stole second, then scored when Dani Bartholf singled to center field.

Bailey Gaffin laced an RBI-double to right field to score Kaitlyn Delange from third to trim the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning. Dixie State tied the game at 3-3 in the sixth inning when Bartholf hit her second RBI-single of the game to score Tyteca from third.

Meanwhile, Hazel continued to dominate in the pitcher’s circle throughout the same stretch, allowing just two NMHU base runners while picking up eight more strikeouts.

The Trailblazers completed the comeback win in the seventh inning. Jessica Gonzalez drove a two-out double to right field to start things off. After entering as a pinch runner, Meagan Anders scored the winning run when Tyteca laced a walk-off single deep to the left side of the infield.

Tyteca led the DSU charge at the plate, posting three hits in four at-bats with the walk-off single. Hazel improved to 13-5 in the pitcher’s circle, striking out 12 NMHU batters while allowing no runs and just two hits.

The Cowgirls had Dixie State feeling déjà vu early in the second game, blasting a leadoff solo home run to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning. However, the DSU defense retired the next three batters this time around to avoid further damage.

The Trailblazers took advantage of an NMHU error in the third inning, tying the game at 1-1 when Gaffin scored from third after reaching on a fielding error. Tyteca picked up her second RBI of the day on the scoring play, scorching a ball to the shortstop for a single.

Neither team was able to take advantage of its base runners through the middle innings, and the 1-1 tie remained into the seventh inning.

Comment on this story

After retiring the NMHU side in order in the top of the seventh, Gaffin doubled down the right field line and Gonzalez singled to center field to lead off the bottom of the seventh. Tyteca ended the game on the next pitch, crushing a three-run, walk-off home run into the palm trees beyond the fence in left center field.

Tyteca and Gonzalez each led DSU with two hits in game two, while Tyteca finished with a team-high 4 RBI. Carissa Burgess improved to 17-4 in the pitcher’s circle with a complete-game gem, striking out a career-high eight batters while allowing just one hit.

The Trailblazers and Cowgirls will close the series with a second doubleheader on Saturday at 11 a.m.