ST. GEORGE, Utah -- Dixie state faced a four-run deficit to Cal State Monterey Bay in the seventh inning, but the Red Storm scored four runs in the top of the inning, then scored two more in the eighth, as the Red Storm beat the Otters 6-4 in Game 1 of the best-of-three series for the program's 25th consecutive victory.
Dixie State coach Randy Simkins said his team's game plan finally paid off in the latter innings.
"We did exactly what we wanted to do early in the game, but we just weren't able to put anything across," Simkins said. "We stranded 14 runners, and the first four or five innings we stranded at least two each time. You knew hitting their pitching was going to be what we needed to do, and we were able to do it."
The Otters took a 1-0 lead in the first inning as Courtney Varela scored on a sacrifice fly to left field. Monterey Bay centerfielder Anneliese Lopez then hit a two-run home run in the fourth inning to take a 3-0 lead.
Dixie continually stranded runners as the game carried on, until the fifth inning when the Storm's Courtney Hine and Courtney Sherwin were on first and second with no outs. However, the Red Storm stranded both, with the Otters scoring another run in the sixth.
That set the stage for the seventh, as Nicole Chavez led off with a single, followed by a Hine single. Then, Sherwin walked, and Mallory Paulson singled to score Chavez. Junior Sheila Gelter doubled to left field to score two more runs. Finally, third baseman Brooke Budge's bunt single scored Paulson to tie the game at 4-4.
In the eighth inning, Hine left off with a double, and scored the game winner on a Sherwin double. Sherwin would score on a Paulson double, to give DSU the 6-4 lead.
Dixie's Michelle Duncan pitched all eight innings for the Red Storm, and earned the win to improve her record to 19-1 and lowered her ERA to 1.33. Cori Reinhardt took the loss for the Otters, falling to 21-8 on the season.
"They're a pretty good hitting team, and the wind was going out," Simkins said. "So, it's still kind of advantage Duncan, because she's a down-ball pitcher. Duncan [did] a great job."
Paulson and Hine each had three hits for DSU.
The two teams continue the best of three series tomorrow at 1 p.m. with the Red Storm tabbed as the home team in the opener.