Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics
Dixie State junior outfielder Brenna Cornwall follows through after a hit on Thursday vs. UCCS. Cornwall finished the game with four hits and 2 RBI.

The No. 3 Dixie State softball team opened the 2019 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament on Thursday with a 9-4 victory over No. 6 UC-Colorado Springs in Grand Junction, Colorado.

The Trailblazers (38-10) built a five-run lead, then staved off a sixth-inning rally by the Mountain Lions to hold on for the victory. Dixie State advances to take on the winner of No. 2 Colorado Christian and No. 7 Regis on Friday at 8:30 a.m.

After a scoreless first inning, the Trailblazers broke through with three runs in the bottom of the second. Kasey Crawford reached on a fielder’s choice, then stole second. Then, after Taylor Godfrey drew a walk, Brenna Cornwall singled to center field to score Crawford and open the scoring. Bailey Gaffin followed up the hit with one of her own, belting a two-run single to left field two pitches later.

The Mountain Lions responded with one run in the third inning and two more in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3.

Dixie State countered with two runs on three hits and one UCCS error in the bottom of the fourth to retake the lead. Crawford started things off with a triple to right center, then scored when Kaitlyn Delange singled up the middle. Delange scored later on a UCCS throwing error to push the DSU advantage to 5-3.

The Trailblazers added three more runs in the fifth inning to extend the lead to 8-3. Dani Bartholf opened the frame with a double to left center, followed by a Crawford walk. Godfrey then cleared the bases with a two-run double to center field and scored when Cornwall singled up the middle.

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UCCS threatened to cut into lead in the sixth inning, pushing one run across with the bases still loaded. However, the DSU defense tightened and escaped the jam without any further damage.

Dixie State got the run back in the bottom of the sixth when Bartholf drove a sacrifice fly to right field to push the score to the final tally of 9-4.

Cornwall led DSU at the plate, going 4-for-4 with 2 RBI. Cambrie Hazel (17-5) earned the win in the pitcher’s circle with four strikeouts, while Carissa Burgess posted her first career save after entering in the sixth inning.

The Trailblazers will now play the winner of No. 2 Colorado Christian and No. 7 Regis on Friday at 8:30 a.m.