ST. GEORGE — Dixie State softball wrapped up a four-game series sweep of New Mexico Highlands on Saturday at Karl Brooks Field, taking both ends, 13-4 and 9-1, of a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference doubleheader.
The Trailblazers (33-10, 27-9 RMAC) honored their six seniors prior to the start of the doubleheader, and the seniors went on to rule the day as the group combined to hit .483 (14-of-29) on the day with three doubles, one home run and 10 RBIs.
Dixie State raced to a 4-0 lead in the first game of the day, scoring four runs on two hits in the bottom of the first. The Trailblazers quickly loaded the bases as a Bailey Gaffin single was sandwiched between walks issued to Brenna Cornwall and Jessica Gonzalez. Riley Tyteca then drew a bases-loaded walk to open the scoring, followed by Gaffin scoring on a wild pitch. Three batters later, Kasey Crawford ripped a 2-1 pitch down the right field line for a two-run double to push the lead to 4-0.
New Mexico Highlands wasted no time with an answer, scoring four runs on three hits and one error in the top of the second to tie the game at 4-4.
The Trailblazers matched the Cowgirls with four more runs in the bottom of the second to retake the lead for good at 8-4. After picking up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the first inning, Tyteca duplicated the feat in the second, drawing a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch for her second RBI of the game. Kori Gahn drove the next pitch to deep center field for a sacrifice fly, followed by a two-run double by Dani Bartholf to push the lead to 8-4.
Dixie State tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth to extend the lead to 10-4. After Gonzalez laced a leadoff double to left field, Gahn obliterated a 3-1 pitch over the palm trees behind left field for her sixth home run of the season.
The Trailblazers ended the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on three hits to push the score to the final tally of 13-4. Kaitlyn Delange opened the frame with a double through the right side, then scored when Gaffin singled to center field. Two pitches later, Gonzalez smashed her 10th home run of the season to left field to wrap up the victory.
Gaffin and Gonzalez led the way the plate with two hits each, while Carissa Burgess improved to 18-4 in the pitcher’s circle. Burgess picked up the win after entering in the second inning, striking out three NMHU batters in 3.1 scoreless and hitless innings pitched.
The Trailblazers picked up where they left off in the series finale, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second. After Crawford and Taylor Godfrey each drew a walk, Delange drove an RBI single through the right side to open the scoring. Cornwall followed suit with a two-run double to right-center field in the ensuing at-bat.
Dixie State added one run in the fourth inning when Gonzalez plated Delange from third with an RBI single through the left side to push the lead to 4-0. The Trailblazers added three more runs on three hits in the fifth inning, scoring two consecutive runs on wild pitches before Gaffin pulled an RBI single down the right field line to build a 7-0 advantage.
New Mexico Highlands broke up the DSU shutout bid in the top of the sixth with a solo home run to left field, but the Cowgirls wouldn’t get any closer.
The Trailblazers ended the game in the bottom of the sixth when Bartholf laced a two-run double to left-center field to clinch the 9-1 win and the series sweep.
Bartholf, Gaffin and Gonzalez finished with two hits each to lead DSU at the plate. Cambrie Hazel picked up her 14th win (14-5) of the season in the pitcher’s circle, striking out 11 batters while allowing just one run on three hits.
Dixie State will close the regular season next week with a four-game series at Fort Lewis in Durango, Colorado.