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Dixie State softball: Storm win 10th consecutive with DH sweep at Dominican

Dixie State freshman catcher Jessica Gonzalez (front-center) steps on home plate and celebrates with her teammates after she hit a grand slam vs. Dominican on Saturday.
Dixie State freshman catcher Jessica Gonzalez (front-center) steps on home plate and celebrates with her teammates after she hit a grand slam vs. Dominican on Saturday.
Brandon Davis, Dominican Athletics

The No. 15 Dixie State softball team extended its winning streak to 10 games Saturday with a doubleheader sweep at Dominican in San Rafael, California.

The Red Storm (23-7, 11-3 PacWest) rolled to an 11-1 win in six innings in game one behind a Jessica Gonzalez grand slam and used a big fourth inning to complete the doubleheader sweep with a 6-1 win in game two.

“We were more efficient today than we have been,” head coach Randy Simkins said. “We were able to string hits together and move runners. Even our outs were more productive, as we were able to move runners even if we made an out.”

Game one

Dominican threatened to open the scoring in the bottom of the second inning putting runners on first and second with one out. But the next batter hit a grounder to Josey Hartman at shortstop, who fielded the ball cleanly, stepped on second for the first out and fired a strike to first base to complete the double play to end the inning.

Dixie State took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning when Hartman and Kristie Johnson each stole home in the inning before Gonzalez hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Janessa Bassett from third for her first of a five-RBI game.

The Storm duplicated the feat in the top of the fourth inning when Johnson pounded an RBI double to left center, scoring Dani Bartholf from third. Bassett followed up the double with a single to the same spot in left center, scoring Brooklyn Beardshear from third and Johnson from second.

DSU sealed the victory with five runs in the top of the sixth inning. Gonzalez stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and recorded her sixth home run of the season in grand fashion with a grand slam to give the Storm a 10-0 lead. Summer Simkins scored on an error later in the inning to push the lead to 11-0.

Dominican ended the DSU shutout bid in the bottom half of the inning. Alexandria Melendez checked in at pitcher for Aryn Feickert and promptly struck out the first two batters. But the next three batters each singled, allowing a run to score before the Storm could close out the victory at 11-1.

Gonzalez led the way at the plate with a home run and five RBIs, while Johnson went 2-for-2 with an RBI and Bassett finished at 2-for-3 with two RBIs. Feickert earned the win in the pitcher’s circle to improve to 13-3 on the season, striking out two and giving up two hits in five innings.

Game two

Dixie State struck first when Hartman singled, scoring Bartholf from second to take a 1-0 lead. But this time, the lead didn’t last long.

Dominican answered in the bottom half of the inning, after the leadoff hitter was hit by a pitch and back-to-back singles later in the inning evened the score at 1-1. The Penguins threatened to take the lead with runners on first and second with only one out. But like the second inning in game one, the Storm turned a double play to get out of the jam. Beardshear fielded a grounder hit back to the pitcher’s circle and threw to Cassidy Morton at third base for the first out, who fired to first to get DSU out of the inning with the game tied at 1-1.

“Those double plays today were huge,” Simkins said. “A pitcher’s best friend is a double play. We did a great job throwing pitches that led to ground balls.”

The Red Storm pulled away in the top of the fourth inning, taking advantage of a pair of errors to score five runs in the inning. Mallory Paulson drew a walk to start the rally and later scored on a throwing error by the Dominican catcher. Beardshear singled to left field on the next play, scoring Bartholf. Hartman later doubled down the left field line to score Johnson and Kaitlyn Delange. Bassett singled on the next play to bring home Hartman and extend the lead to the eventual final of 6-1.

Hartman led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Gonzalez and Johnson also finished the game at 2-for-3. Beardshear earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, striking out three with no walks in a complete-game performance.

Dixie State returns to Karl Brooks Field for a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader vs. Chaminade at 3 p.m. The Red Storm learned on Saturday that their scheduled Sunday doubleheader at Chico State was canceled due to oncoming inclement weather.

Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Red Storm Athletics. Contact him at keric.seegmiller@dixie.edu.