By Nick Barene, sports writer
The Lutes softball team was unable to earn a victory against the visiting Whitworth Pirates in their weekend double header, losing 4-3 in the first game and 4-2 in the second.
In the first game, the Lutes came out swinging the bat well. Senior Spencer Sherwin led the game off with a triple. First-year Thalen Masada then drew a walk and stole second base. With Sherwin and Masada aboard, junior Kelsey Robinson smacked an RBI double into right-center field to give Pacific Lutheran University an early 2-0 lead.
In the third inning, senior Katie Lowery hit a single to center field, scoring Masada and increasing the PLU advantage to 3-0.
But that would be the end of the scoring for the Lutes. The Pirates came out in the fourth inning and put a run on the board. In the fifth inning they tied the game at three on a 2 RBI double to left field by Megan John.
Whitworth scored the game winning run in the sixth inning on a bunt single by Brittany Connor. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Masada was able to reach base safely with only one out. However, the next batters were retired and the win went to the Pirates.
Robinson (1-3) took the loss. She allowed three earned runs on seven hits alongside one walk and three strikeouts. Makayla Lefever (2-0) got the win, giving up just one earned run on six hits to go with her four strikeouts.
In the second game, the Pirates opened up the scoring in the top of the first. The team took a 1-0 lead on a single by Julia Johnson.
In the bottom half of the first, Sherwin got the Lutes back on track, leading off the inning with a solo blast over the outfield wall. It was her first homerun of the year.
In the top of the third, the Pirates struck again on Julia Johnson’s two-run homerun, giving Whitworth a 3-1 lead.
The Lutes would get a run back in the sixth inning. Robsinson reached base on a single, followed by Matsunaga on a fielder’s choice. A bunt single by Lowery loaded the bases for first-year Kailyn Osaki, who smacked a base hit down the right field line to score Robsinson from third.
But the next three Lute batters were retired, and the PLU rally was short lived. The Lutes stranded seven base runners in the game, and totaled 14 for both games combined.
The Pirates scored another run on a scoring error, and they cruised through the bottom of the seventh to victory.
Junior Leah Butters (0-4) allowed three earned runs on nine hits with no walks and three strikeouts in her complete game effort. Madi Perez picked up her seventh win for the Pirates, going four innings. She gave up one earned run on four hits, with three walks and two strikeouts. Whitworth’s Riley Fritz earned her first save of the year in relief.
The Sunday games of the weekend series were cancelled due to rain. The Lutes fell to 1-8 overall, 0-5 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth moved to 14-3 overall, 7-0 in NWC play.
The Lutes’ next game will be against Willamette March 8. PLU is riding an eight-game losing streak into the game.