Dixie State University baseball ended it’s marathon season opener Thursday on a walk-off base hit.
The Trailblazers began their season at Bruce Hurst field in a match up with Montana State Billings University. Three hours and 46 minutes later, the Trailblazer’s shortstop Kyle Hoffman, a redshirt senior history major from Taylorsville, ended the game with a single through the left side of the infield scoring outfielder Jagun Leavitt, a freshman general studies major from St. George.
“At first, I was trying to get the bunt down,” Hoffman said. “When [Leavitt] got to third, I was just thinking of [hitting] through the middle of the ball and hopefully it will fall through.”
DSU had to dig out of a hole they dug themselves early in the game when MSU Billings scored seven runs in the first two innings.
“Montana State Billings is an offensive team,” Assistant Coach Patrick Perry said. “You watch the way they take batting practice, [and] the way they swing the bats; they are going to do some damage this year.”
Pitcher Chandler Greenfield, a junior exercise science major from Twin Falls, Idaho, came on in relief in the top of the third inning, proceeding to stall the Montana State Billings offense. Greenfield threw three innings with five strikeouts, allowing only two hits and one run from a solo homerun in the top of the fifth inning.
“I was really hitting my spots on the outside corner,” Greenfield said. “That was a big part of our scouting report on [MSU Billings], and I was able to pound that spot.”
DSU went into the top of the ninth inning up 11-9 but couldn’t hold the lead, allowing the bases to become loaded after two walks and a hit by pitch. MSU Billings capitalized on the situation, scoring two runs to tie the game at 11 on only one hit in the inning. The Trailblazers were able to escape further damage in the inning, giving their offense a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, leading to Hoffman’s walk-off single.
“For a team that has 21 new faces to coalesce and get after it was awesome,” Perry said. “I hope that is a sign of good fights for the rest of the 49 games that we have this year.”
The near four-hour game featured 23 combined runs, 24 combined hits and a combined eight hit by pitches. DSU was able to capitalize on three errors by MSU Billings and three wild pitches, two of which advancing the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.
The Trailblazers went on to lose to MSU Billings 15-7 on Friday. DSU got off to another slow start in the game as MSU Billings jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the first three innings. DSU was able to battle back to bring the score to 8-7 but gave up seven runs in the final two innings, handing the Trailblazers their first loss of the season. In the second game on Friday, the Trailblazers beat California State University, San Bernardino 9-8 in 11 innings on another walk-off hit to push them to 2-1 on the year.
To finish off the opening weekend of the season, DSU played MSU Billings on Saturday losing 14-11 after being down 7-0 in the fifth inning. DSU went on to beat CSU San Bernardino 4-2 on Saturday on a walk-off two run home run and by a score of 12-2 on Sunday.
The Trailblazers exit the weekend with a 4-2 record and will face Colorado Mesa University Feb. 16-18 in their last games before Pacific West Conference play begins.