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Dixie State softball: No. 14 Red Storm rally for DH sweep of Hawai'i Hilo

Dixie State junior outfielder Shelby Yung gets set to take a swing vs. Chaminade on March 23. Yung drove in the winning run in DSU's second game vs. Hawai'i Hilo on Wednesday.
Dixie State junior outfielder Shelby Yung gets set to take a swing vs. Chaminade on March 23. Yung drove in the winning run in DSU's second game vs. Hawai'i Hilo on Wednesday.
Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics

The No. 14 Dixie State softball team rallied for a doubleheader sweep of Hawai’i Hilo on Wednesday at Karl Brooks Field to extend its winning streak to a conference-high 14 games.

The Red Storm (27-7, 15-3 PacWest) cruised to a 9-0 win in game one in five innings behind a Josey Hartman grand slam and rallied from a 6-1 deficit, scoring four runs in the sixth and two in the seventh, for a 7-6 victory in game two on a walk-off RBI single by Shelby Yung.

“You’ve got to have the ability that you’re never out of a game,” head coach Randy Simkins said. “It was huge that we answered in the sixth inning, even though we didn’t take the lead at that point. The goal was to make it manageable going into the seventh inning. We didn’t have to get them all right then, but we had to get within striking distance.”

Game one

Janessa Bassett doubled and Jessica Gonzalez singled to start things off for Dixie State in the first inning, setting up a two-RBI double down the left field line by Mallory Paulson to give DSU an early 2-0 lead.

Hawai’i Hilo threatened to cut into the lead in the top of third inning, loading the bases with two outs, but Brooklyn Beardshear fielded the next ball put into play at third base and fired a strike to first to get the Storm out of the jam.

DSU seized control of the game in the bottom of third, when Autumn Woodfall, Paulson and Beardshear each recorded an RBI to extend the lead to 5-0. And the Storm weren’t done. Hartman stepped to the plate later in the inning with two outs and the bases loaded and sent the 1-2 pitch over the wall in left center field for her first grand slam of the season to give DSU its winning score of 9-0.

The Red Storm defense then went to work to secure the win. Alexandria Melendez entered the game at pitcher in relief of Aryn Feickert in the top of fourth inning and struck out all five batters she faced to end the game.

Paulson led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBIs, while Woodfall also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Hartman ended the game with four RBIs after her grand slam. Feickert earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, allowing one hit in three innings to improve to 15-3 on the season.

Game two

Dixie State took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third when Bassett scored on a fielding error.

Hawai’i Hilo responded in the top of the fifth inning, taking advantage of a pair of DSU errors to score on an infield single later in the inning to even the score at 1-1. The Vulcans broke the game open in the next inning, scoring five runs on a two-RBI single followed by a three-run home run to take a 6-1 lead.

The Red Storm wasted no time regaining the momentum in the bottom of the sixth inning, answering the UHH rally with their own. DSU quickly loaded the bases with a double, single and a walk to set up a two-RBI double by Yung. Two batters later, Woodfall singled, scoring Hartman from third. Then, after Paulson drew a walk, Arista Honey entered the game as a pinch hitter and singled to right field, scoring Gonzalez to close the gap to 6-5.

Dixie State retired the Vulcans in order in the top of the seventh, setting up the dramatic finish. Kristie Johnson singled up the middle to open the bottom half of the seventh, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Hartman. Bassett drove the next pitch down the left field line for an RBI double to even the score at 6-6, bringing Yung to the plate. Yung watched the first two pitches go by, then belted the 2-0 pitch to center field for a walk-off single as Bassett scored the winning run from second.

Yung led the way at the plate going 3-for-4 with three RBIs, while Johnson also finished at 3-for-4 and Bassett went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Alexis Barkwell earned the win in the pitcher’s circle, after entering the game in the sixth inning, to improve to 3-1 on the season.

The Storm close their eight-game home stand with a four-game weekend series next Friday and Saturday at Karl Brooks Field.

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.