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Rebels complete sweep of Chinese

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ST. GEORGE — With the last third of the baseball season on the horizon, Dixie State baseball coach Mike Littlewood couldn't have asked for better performances on which to build a little momentum.

The Rebels got timely hitting, solid defense and stifling pitching in completing a two-game sweep of the Chinese National Team.

In the series finale Tuesday, Chad Povich allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings while striking out nine in leading the Rebels to the 8-6 victory.

Mark Rose had three hits, one a solo homer, and drove in two runs, and Kyle Pratt added two hits and two RBIs as the Rebels picked up their 10th straight victory.

The Rebels beat China 12-3 in the series opener Monday.

"Athletics are all about confidence, and the last two weekends we swung the bats well against Weber State and Utah State and carried it into these two games against a quality team," Littlewood said. "We're making great contact at the plate, and that's got to give our guys confidence, and hopefully it carries into this weekend."

In the sweep of the Chinese team, the Rebels scored 20 runs on 30 hits and committed just three errors. Starting pitchers went 14 innings and allowed just seven hits and two runs, while walking two and striking out 15.

"I felt we played two of the best games we have played all year. We were real solid," Littlewood said.

Through six innings Tuesday, Povich was dialed in, facing just 20 hitters, two over the minimum, while striking out eight. He walked his only batter in the seventh, when China finally got on the board.

"He looked really nice and easy. Everything looked smooth," Littlewood said. "He really set the tone going out there in the first inning and being real aggressive."

After giving up a run in the first inning, China starter Chen Junyi settled in and didn't allow anything until the fourth, when the Rebels broke the game open with three runs to take a 4-0 lead.

Pratt had an RBI single and Rose belted a two-run homer in the Rebels' three-run fifth to lead 7-0.

China scored twice in seventh, added another run in the eighth and three more in the ninth to make the game interesting.

In the contest, Lui Limin and Liu Guangbiao drove in two runs each for China.

The Rebels open a three-game series Thursday in Lewiston, Idaho, with Lewis Clark State.

E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com