ST. GEORGE, Utah – It took just two-and-a-half seasons for California Baptist University head coach Bill Baber to reach the 100-win mark, including a lot of drama Saturday in a PacWest doubleheader at Dixie State.
Nothing came easy for either team, though, as the see-saw series continued with the team's splitting a doubleheader for the second day in a row at Dixie State. No. 3 CBU picked up a narrow 8-6 win in the early game and dropped a back-and-forth game, 10-7, to end the day. After splitting the four-game series, the Lancers' record went to 21-6, 11-5 in the PacWest and No. 22 Dixie State moved to 15-6, 6-4.
CBU came out on fire in the first game to take a 5-0 lead by the second inning. The Lancers led by as much as six, 8-2, in the sixth inning but knew no lead was safe with Dixie State.
The Red Storm pulled within three, 8-5, on a three-run homer from Brooke Budge in the bottom of the sixth inning and then loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh. Dixie State pulled within two on a sacrifice fly, but CBU pitcher Belinda Renne stopped the Red Storm in its tracks with a strikeout and groundout back to the circle to end the game.
Renne turned in a complete game in Saturday's opener to improve to 14-2 this season. Offensively, the Lancers got a big boost from Krista Mann. The freshman phenom was a double short of the cycle in the game after she went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in, two runs scored. She was responsible for CBU's final three runs after she hit a two-run homer in the fourth and an RBI triple in the sixth.
Mann, who finished with 5 RBIs on the day, also helped jumpstart the scoring with a one-out single in the first inning. A walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases for the Lancers and Kailey Willingham scored Mann with a bases-loaded walk and a run-scoring fielder's choice grounder from Rachel Meyer gave the visitors a 2-0 lead right out of the gate.
CBU's upper hand grew to 5-0 in the second inning, which began with a leadoff walk to Jacque Lopez. Jordan Mowatt brought her home with a triple to left-center field, and Mowatt proceeded to steal home. A walk and error put runners at the corners with two outs for Willingham, who came up with an RBI single on a 1-2 count to cap the three-run frame.
After just dropping the first game, Dixie State came out swinging in the finale and took what appeared to be a commanding 6-0 lead in the first inning. The Red Storm's stronghold weakened considerably, however, when Marshean August blasted a grand slam in the top of the second inning.
Dixie State scored a run in the bottom of the second, but saw its lead completely disappear. Two errors led to CBU's fifth run, as a defensive miscue put Meyer on before she was pinch ran for by Rebecca Orozco. A Lopez single moved Orozco to second and a bunt single from August, which drew a throwing error, scored the lead runner. Mann doubled home two more runs to tie the game at 7-7.
The Red Storm answered right away and took back a lead on a two-run double in the third inning and added some more insurance with a sacrifice fly in the fourth for a 10-7 lead. Dixie State made the lead stand up for the victory, as no runs were scored the rest of the way.
August went 4-for-6 with four runs and four RBIs on the day after a 2-for-3 showing and four-RBI game in the finale. Mowatt was also 2-for-3 with a run scored in the capper. Lopez was 4-for-6 with three runs on the day after going 2-for-3 in each game.
The Lancers will take a break from PacWest play but continue on the road with a visit to San Francisco State March 15 for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.