The Red Storm swept the four-game set from the visiting Vulcans and improve to 24-11 overall, 18-2 in PacWest play. Two more triumphs extend Dixie State's current winning streak to 13 games, its longest stretch without a loss in four years. It was also the third straight series sweep for the Storm. UH Hilo moves to 10-21 on the year and 8-16 within the league.
Kort Christoffersen (Ogden, UT) was dominant in a complete game, five-hitter performance. He struck out three while walking none. His lone blemish was a two-out RBI single in the third. Christoffersen evened his season record to 2-2, completing nine innings with 82 pitches thrown.
Offensively, the Storm jumped in front, 3-0, in the bottom of the second in Sunday's opening matchup. Kris Kaplan (Las Vegas, NV) led off the frame with a single, advanced to third on a single to right from Mike Umscheid (Beaverton, OR), and scored on a base hit through the left side from Ty Johnson (Thousand Oaks, CA). With two outs, Yuto Kata (Chiba, Japan) supplied a two-run single, plating Johnson and Drew McLaughlin (Scottsdale, AZ).
Runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings padded the DSU lead. Dalton Gust (Riverton, UT) lifted a 2-0 pitch in the sixth over the wall in left field for his first homer of the season. In the seventh, Kata walked and moved to third on a failed pick off. He tagged up on an RBI sacrifice fly from Trey Kamachi (Kapolei, HI). Finally, Kata plated Umscheid with another sacrifice fly ball in the eighth.
Dixie State doubled up the Vulcans in the hit column in game one, 10-5. Kata led the Storm with two hits and three RBI. McLaughlin and Tyler Blair (Henderson, NV) also had two hits.
Game two saw the Vulcans take their first lead of the series with a two-run home run from Will Thayer in the second inning off Kody Christoffersen (Ogden, UT). This was after Dixie State scored a run in the opening frame without the benefit of a base hit. McLaughin drew a lead off walk from UHH starter Seamus Yoneshige, advanced on a wild pitch, moved to third on a sacrifice Kata bunt, and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Kamachi.
Johnson came through with the equalizer in the home half of the second inning with a double off the center field wall, scoring Blair.
Dixie State took the lead, 3-2, in the fourth scoring a run with a two-out error by the UHH third baseman.
The Vulcans fought back and evened up the game in the top of the fifth executing a perfect safety squeeze bunt for a run.
Christoffersen would scatter three runs on four hits over five frames, but it was the DSU offensive heroics in the bottom of the fifth that kept the starting pitcher in the conversation for a winning decision (4-1).
Kevin Kline (Las Vegas, NV) doubled with one out and scored two batters later when Kaplan doubled left field. Austin Bartleson (Kennewick, WA) cashed in Kaplan with a single to give the Storm a 5-3 lead. Another Kata RBI sac fly in the sixth inning pushed the advantage to three runs.
The fantastic dup out of the DSU bullpen squashed any last effort from the Vulcans. Matt Hill (Cypress, CA) shook off an early error in the sixth to strike out two in his scoreless frame. Then, Evan Parker (Ogden, UT) closed out his 11th save with a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh.
Kamachi was the only DSU player in the series finale with a multi-hit effort and McLaughlin scored three times.
Dixie State is scheduled to host Azusa Pacific in the first game of a four-game PacWest series on Thursday at 6 p.m. from Hurst. The matchup features the top two teams in the league standings, as the Cougars sit 4.5 games back of the Storm for first place.