Sam Says: Baseball team looking like perennial national champions

Posted on Apr 6 2014 - 5:54pm by Sam Horn, Sports Editor

It hasn’t even been two years, but the scent of a national champion is in the air at Pacific Lutheran University. In 2012, the PLU softball team won the national title and didn’t seem to struggle during its impressive run.

This year, the other PLU team armed with bats seems ready to win it all this year. Yes, I’m referring to the baseball team.

In years past, the baseball team has settled for mediocrity. The baseball team hasn’t been crowned Northwest Conference champions since 2009. That drought could end in 2014, because this year is different.

This year, the baseball team is armed with some heavy artillery accompanied by a stingy defense and an unrelenting pitching staff. This year is destined for greatness.

The baseball team came alive this March after settling for a 5-4 record in February. On March 1, the baseball team squared off against Willamette in a doubleheader, winning the two games by a combined score of 12-1. That was only the beginning.

The baseball team went on to win four consecutive games, limiting its opponents to less than three runs in three of the games during the victorious span. This was due, in part, to the team’s stellar defense.

Through 24 games, the PLU defense, as a collective whole, has compiled a .968 fielding percentage. Opposing batters haven’t had the luxury of getting on base via an error on a consistent basis. This PLU defense is the real deal.

While the fielders have been nothing short of extraordinary, the PLU pitching staff has been fanning batters regularly. The pitching staff as a whole has collected 215 strikeouts. Compare that with 173 punchouts from the team’s opponents.

On top of that, junior Chris Bishop pitched a no-hitter against Willamette and fellow junior AJ Konopaski is the team leader in saves with 10. The team’s strikeout leader is none other than junior Trevor Lubking. For me, the ‘Big Three’ comes to mind when describing these three dominant pitchers.

The baseball team is enjoying a two-game winning streak in which it outscored Claremont 22-4 in two games combined. Boasting a 15-9 record, the PLU baseball team could be the recipients of national glory in the coming months.

It shouldn’t be too long before Washington Governor Jay Inslee declares May 25 as “Pacific Lutheran University Baseball Day” just like his predecessor, Christine Gregoire, did for the softball team in 2012.