The Lutes came out swinging against the Bruins in the first game, recording a total of 17 hits off three of the Bruins pitchers. Pacific Lutheran University managed enough runs to outlast George Fox, 6-5.
Among those that contributed to the offensive explosion was sophomore Drew Oord. He said the positive feeling became contagious as the game progressed.
“This week we really focused on effectively swinging our bats in practice, and it really showed out here today,” Oord said.
Oord went 4-for-5 with one run batted in.
Despite the Lutes tallying up 17 hits, they still managed to leave a total of 13 of their teammates stranded on base, giving them a total of six earned runs.
“Although we hit well, we still need to improve our clutch hitting, so that we can bring more guys across home plate,” Oord said.
The game ended in an interesting fashion as left fielder Kory Vanderstaay, a first-year, led off the bottom of the ninth with a solid single to right field. Second baseman Nicholas Hall, a senior, then bunted Vanderstaay over to second base and in scoring position.
Pinch hitter Landon Packard, a first-year, slapped a ground ball over to second base that was too much for the Bruin’s first baseman to handle, as he misjudged the roll of the ball and muffed the scoop back at home plate. Vanderstaay slide safely across, giving the Lutes the winning run.
The second game of the doubleheader on Saturday was not as promising for the Lutes, as George Fox held the team scoreless. George Fox won 8-0.
The Bruins took advantage of key opportunities against in the Lutes and succeeded in drawing up the first score as George Fox’s first baseman, Danny Clifford, took junior Chris Bishop’s fastball deep to right field and past the fences to give the Bruins an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The Lutes’ pitching staff struggled to keep George Fox off the field as it seemed PLU had no answer to the Bruins’ potent hitting.
George Fox compiled a total of 10 hits, as Clifford led the charge going 3-for-5 with four runs batted in.
George Fox’s pitcher, Ian Buckles, struck out nine Lutes as he only allowed five hits and no runs through eight innings.
Despite the struggles, the Lutes did show some signs of life.
Bishop struck out five batters and first-year Kort Skoda pitched the last inning for the Lutes. He put a stop to the Bruins’ offensive prowess with one strikeout, no hits and no runs.
The final game of weekend was a success for the Lutes, and the game ended with a wild finish. The Lutes won 3-2.
The Bruins struck early in the top of the first as George Fox’s right fielder, Zach Rapacz, batted in his brother, Josh Rapacz, with an RBI single to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Even though the Bruins scored early, that didn’t seem to faze the Lutes as PLU sophomore Tyler Thompson hit a deep home run to left field. The solo shot was followed by sophomore Drew Oord’s RBI single, giving the Lutes a 2-1 lead.
Not only did the Lutes produce on offense, but they made key plays on defense which set them apart from the Bruins.
First-year pitcher Derrick Mahlum struck out 11 batters through six innings, giving up only four hits and one run.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Lutes loaded the bases with pinch runner Casey Dawes, a first-year, on third base. George Fox’s pitcher, Sean Eberhardt, threw a wild pitch leaving Dawes with the opportunity to score, and he did just that.
“We’re a great team, and we all know we can produce on both sides of the ball,” first-year Ben Welch said. “I never had a doubt in my mind that we would come back and win this game.”
The Lutes will take on Lewis & Clark this afternoon at 3 p.m. PLU sits in fourth place in the Northwest Conference with an overall record of 18-13. 🅼