ST. GEORGE, Utah-- A wild walkoff win sealed No. 21 Dixie State’s doubleheader sweep of Azusa Pacific Friday night. The Red Storm, who saw a 6-1 lead evaporate thanks to 10 Cougar runs over the fifth and sixth innings, fought back from an 11-8 hole, pushing the game to extra frames with one run in the seventh, before a game-winning sacrifice fly clinched DSU’s 12-11 game two win after opening the day with a 12-4 victory.
The Red storm (26-12, 20-3) and Azusa Pacific traded leads five times in game two, a contest that had 31 hits and six errors over three hours of play. Dixie State had six homers in the doubleheader, with Tyler Blair and Kris Kaplan each tabbing three long balls in the sweep.
The Cougars, who rallied from an 8-2 deficit in a 12-9 win Thursday, nearly matched their comeback recipe in game two on Friday. After the Red Storm took a 6-1 lead through four innings of play Azusa Pacific exploded for six runs in the fifth inning to go ahead 7-6. Dixie State, however, countered with two runs in the bottom of the frame to recapture the lead. But the Cougars countered with four more runs in the sixth inning, going up 11-8, before DSU added two more in the bottom of the sixth to trail 11-10 heading into the final scheduled inning.
In the bottom of the seventh the Red Storm put runners on first and second thanks to a leadoff single and a Cougar error. A 6-4-3 double play put a damper on Dixie State’s late inning heroics, but the a two-out single through the right side tied the game at 11-11.
After the Cougars failed to regain the lead in the top of the eighth and ninth innings, Dixie State put the winning run 90 feet away after an Azusa Pacific error and DSU groundout, before a game-ending walkoff preserved at least a split for the Pacific West Conference’s first place Red Storm.
Matt Kimmel and Mitch Dergazarian each drove in three runs on the day, with Kimmel going 4-for-8 at the plate. Joseph Daris scored three times in game two, and also drove in one run on two hits. Domenic Biagini and Jordan Brower also drove in a pair of runs in Azusa Pacific’s fourth game of 10+ runs this season.
In game one Sean Aspinall and Cam Bennett had a team-high two hits, but Azusa Pacific managed just four runs on its 10 hits, while Dixie State got 12 runs across with its 18 hits. Red Storm pitcher John Conguy tossed a complete game, striking out six Cougars to go with one walk, while surrendering only one earned run.
Azusa Pacific, which has allowed 33 runs over the past three games, will conclude its weekend series with the Red Storm on Saturday at 11 a.m., looking for its first road series split of the season.