Murrieta Valley High School graduate Brandon Dixon was a world series away from Murrieta Monday when he helped the University of Arizona Wildcats claim a fourth championship title in baseball.
With the final College World Series game tied 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning, the former Nighthawk infielder—now a sophomore at the University of Arizona—batted in what would be the winning run in the NCAA championship game against South Carolina.
Dixon would later score on his teammate Trent Gilbert’s two-run base hit making the score 4-1 Wildcats. South Carolina was unable to score in their half of the ninth.
Arizona swept the series 2-0. Sunday's game went to the Wildcats 5-1.
Patch spoke with Dixon by telephone Thursday.
"It was the best experience I’ve had, baseball-wise. It was awesome," Dixon said.
Dixon played a key role this season in fielding for the Wildcats with a .994 fielding percentage including 478 putouts, 26 assists, and only three errors. As an infielder for the team, he aided in 38 double plays.
In his senior year at Murrieta Valley in 2010, Dixon was quite the contributor to his Nighthawk team's success. He led his team in both RBI and doubles with 21 and 12, respectively.
He was also tied for the lead with teammates Michael Jordan and Kevin Gohres for home runs with three.
As a base-runner, Dixon shined with 12 stolen bases on 13 attempts.
The best eight college teams are invited to play in the College World Series. It is a double-elimination tournament. The Wildcats were undefeated through tournament play, winning 10 games in a row.
In the final five games, all played in Omaha, Neb., Arizona beat Florida State 4-3 (12 innings), UCLA 4-0, Florida State 10-3, and then won the final two against South Carolina.
Dixon played in 62 games for the Wildcats this season, starting in 38 of them. He scored 30 times on 38 hits while contributing nine doubles and 14 RBI and stole eight of 12 bases.
Arizona finished the year with a record of 48-17.
Patch: “Tell us a little about your high school career and your accomplishments.”
Dixon: “I played three years of varsity [baseball] at Murrieta Valley and I think I was all-league and all-valley for two years.”
Patch: “What position(s) did you and do you play?”
Dixon: “In high school I played shortstop and now I play first base.”
Patch: “What have you done with your talents since high school?”
Dixon: “I got the opportunity to play at Arizona and so I took it and it’s been awesome.”
Patch: “In your senior season in high school, you stole 12 bases in 13 attempts. Have you continued to contribute as a base-stealer?”
Dixon: “Yes, I think I have an average amount of steals—I think eight of 10 this year so, yeah, it’s still a piece of my game.”
Patch: “Tell us about this season with the Wildcats. In how many games did you play and in what role?”
Dixon: “I was widely used and I think I played all but one game. Towards the end of the year I stopped starting games but I’d get in games about mid-way through a game. [In his freshman year he played in 13 games and started once.] I played first base but was there to do whatever they needed me to do. At the start [of the season] I was starting and toward the end it was defense and hitting.”
Patch: “Statistically speaking, how did you do this year?
Dixon: “Not what I expected. I expected to play a little better but I had my ups and my downs...I haven’t really honestly checked out my stats at all.”
Patch: “And for the series?”
Dixon: “I only got one hit. One for, I think, six or seven.” [That one hit scored what would be the winning run in the final game.]
Patch: “What are your sports goals in the near and distant future?”
Dixon: “To play professionally. Next year I hope to be drafted” [summer 2013].
Patch: “Please note any coaches or mentors or family members, etc., that you'd like to give credit to for being where you are today.”
Dixon: “I’d say both of my parents and then my head coach at Arizona, Andy Lopez.”