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Dixie State softball: Trailblazers claim 500th NCAA Division II win in Denver sweep

DENVER — Dixie State softball claimed its 500th NCAA Division II win on Saturday as part of an RMAC pod sweep of Black Hills State and MSU Denver.

The Trailblazers (25-8, 19-7 RMAC) earned the historic 500th victory with a 3-1 defeat of Black Hills State in DSU’s opener. Dixie State then got a game-winning, two-run double by Dani Bartholf in the seventh inning vs. MSU Denver to complete the Saturday sweep and push its overall Division II record to 501-168 (.749). All told, Dixie State has averaged just over 40 wins per year through its first 12 and half seasons of NCAA Division II play.

The Yellow Jackets struck first in the top of the first inning of the opener, turning a pair of singles and one DSU error into a 1-0 lead.

Dixie State answered in the bottom of the first to quickly tie the game at 1-1. Kasey Crawford drew a leadoff walk, then stole second. Bailey Gaffin then laced an RBI double down the left field line to score Crawford from second.

The Trailblazers added two runs in the bottom of the third to push the lead to 3-1. Brenna Cornwall drew a leadoff walk, then moved to third on a BHSU error. Jessica Gonzalez immediately took advantage of the error and belted an RBI double to center field. Emma Sweet plated the next run with a sacrifice fly to left field.

From there, the DSU defense settled in. Carissa Burgess (14-3) earned the complete-game win, striking out five while allowing just four hits.

The nightcap proved to be a true pitcher’s duel, as neither team managed more than one hit until the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Cambrie Hazel picked up where she left off against Regis, striking out nine MSU Denver batters, including striking out the side in the first inning. Hazel improved to 10-4 in the circle with the complete-game shutout.

After six scoreless innings, the Trailblazers broke through in the top of the seventh. Gonzalez started things off with a single through the left side. Riley Tyteca then drew a hit-by-pitch to put two DSU runners on with no outs. After two consecutive DSU outs, Bartholf saved the day with a clutch two-out, two-run double to the gap in left-center field to push the score to the final tally of 2-0.

The Roadrunners threatened with a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh, but DSU retired the next three batters, including two more strikeouts for Hazel, to seal the victory.

Dixie State will battle MSU Denver again on Sunday at 11 a.m., before a 1 p.m. matchup against Black Hills State to close the pod series in Denver.