RIVERSIDE, Calif. – The Dixie State bats put up four runs in the top of the fourth to give pitcher Dylan File enough run support for the 6-1 win against heated rival Cal Baptist Thursday night in Riverside, Calif.
The Lancers were picked to repeat in the PacWest preseason poll, just one point ahead of Dixie State. Since 2011, the two schools have split the number of championships between them with three apiece. And in only one of those years did the other team not finish in second place.
This year, the two schools currently sit tied for second behind Point Loma. That may change very soon, however, as the Sea Lions’ next four conference games come against DSU and CBU.
Thursday night, the two teams engaged early in a pitching battle. PacWest preseason pitcher of the year Dylan File faced off against the Lancers’ Travis Booth. The Trailblazers did plate a run in the second when Trey Kamachi took a 3-1 pitch over the left field wall.
The slim lead continued to the fourth. Bryce Feist got the one-out rally started with a double to left field. Cam Gust drew a walk. Reece Lucero then hit a double to center field, scoring the two baserunners.
“It was my second at-bat facing their starter,” said Lucero. “The first time I faced him, I hit the ball hard, but got under it a little bit to pop out. But I felt good about it and knew that I could hit against him. He threw a pitch I wanted and I was able to hit it squarely.”
Tyler Baker tripled to left center to score Lucero before the Lancers were able to get out of the inning. The damage had been done, however, and the lead had grown to 5-0.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Lancers started the inning with two consecutive hits. To that point, File had allowed only one hit in the previous three innings. File struck out the next two batters. However, the next batter reached on a fielding error, allowing the Lancers to prevent the shutout. File would get his third strikeout to end the inning before any more damage could be done.
“Dylan had another great outing,” said Dixie State head coach Chris Pfatenhauer. “He had a lot of his secondary pitches going for him tonight.”
The Trailblazers got an insurance run in the seventh when Miles Bice doubled in Logan Porter, who had gotten aboard earlier with a double. File (4-0) and relievers Walker Williams and Tyler Burdett combined to strike out 11 batters and allow only four hits.
Offensively, Porter led the way for DSU with three hits. Baker and Feist also had multiple hits.
“Cal Baptist is a good team,” said Pfatenhauer. “We got a good win tonight. It was nice to get Drew McLaughlin back from injury. We hit the ball well and got good pitching from the bullpen.”
Dixie State moves to 18-5 overall and 7-2 in the PacWest. CBU falls to 16-7 overall and to 7-2 in conference play. They will resume their series Friday with a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Pacific Time.
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