Dixie State beats UC San Diego & Chico State, forces West Regional title game Sunday
Courtesy Dixie State Sports Information
KEIZER, OR – Sam Friend chose a perfect time to throw a complete game.
Behind his five-hit effort, Dixie State College defeated Chico State 3-1 on Saturday (May 19) to force the 2012 NCAA II West Regional to a decisive final game on Sunday (May 20) at Noon PDT in Keizer, OR.
The Red Storm earned the right to a rematch with the Wildcats after defeating UC San Diego 6-4 in early Saturday action.
Relaxed and loose after defeating the Red Storm in the second round on Friday (May 18), the Wildcats struck for a run off Friend in the second inning.
Shane Kroker led off the frame with single through the right side and stole second. A grounder moved Kroker to third. On a 1-0 pitch, Pierson Jeremiah singled up the middle for the lead.
Dixie State answered in the fifth inning by taking a page from the Chico playbook. With two outs, the Red Storm used three straight singles, including an RBI hit from Cedric Johnson, to score Garrett Nash and even the score at 1-1.
Again with two outs in the sixth inning, the Red Storm pushed across two critical runs on a Jordan Hanley triple to left-center off Wildcat starter Ryan O’Shea.
“After I hit, I thought I got it,” Hanley said. “I looked up and it looked like he (CSUC centerfielder Cody Foster) had a beat on it. Our first base coach screamed, so I knew it fell. I turned it on and went for third.”
The cushion proved to be enough as Friend held the Wildcats to two hits over the final seven innings, both off the bat of Blake Gibbs.
“After the fifth, I wanted to finish the game,” Friend said. “I took it inning by inning by thinking one more, one more.”
Hanley and Tyler Slesk each went 2 for 4 for Dixie State.
Joe Andrade launched his fifth home run of the year in the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie and begin a three-inning scoring string for Dixie State.
Johnson had an RBI ground out in the sixth, while a pair of doubles from Ammon Zitting and Nash scored three runs in the seventh for a 6-0 lead.
Bryce Anderson worked out of numerous jams in the opening innings and left the game in the UC San Diego eighth after allowing two on base.
Kyle DiMartino did not retire a batter and was relieved after allowing an RBI single.
Daniel Zapata induced a ground ball double play, which tallied the Tritons’ final run of the inning, and struck out Nick La Face looking to keep the Storm lead at two.
The Dixie State closer retired UCSD in order in the ninth for his ninth season save. Anderson took the win, improving to 5-3.