By Nick Barene, Sports Writer
The Lutes baseball team swept visiting Pacific University in a three-game series this weekend, winning 3-1, 1-0 and 8-2.
In the first game of the weekend, the Lutes pulled out a 3-1 victory. Pitcher Trevor Lubking, a junior, was dominant once again, this time pitching a complete game. In his nine innings of work, Lubking gave up just one run on five hits with no walks while striking out eight batters.
Pacific scored its only run in the top of the first inning on a single by Ben Duerr. After that, Lubking, the NCAA DIII leader in strikeouts this season, stymied the Boxers.
The Lutes first scored in the third inning when senior Nick Hall led off the inning with a base hit. He stole second base and came around to score on a single by first-year Shawn Abe to tie the game, 1-1.
The score remained tied until the seventh inning when junior Curtis Wildung reached base on a walk. Hall reached base on an error and senior Alec Beal reached on a fielder’s choice that loaded the bases.
Junior Collin Nilson then hit a fly ball into foul territory that was deep enough for Wildung to tag up and score. Sophomore Drew Oord hit a sharp base hit to center field to bring home Beal and give the Lutes a 3-1 lead.
Those runs were all the Lutes would need to earn the win, as Lubking finished out the game to earn his sixth win of the year.
The second game was another pitcher’s duel, and PLU only needed one run to earn the win. Junior Chris Bishop pitched seven shutout innings, giving up just five hits and three walks while striking out six. Fellow junior AJ Konopaski pitched the final two innings for his 13th save of the year.
The Lutes’ only run came in the fourth inning when Nilson led off with a double. Oord bunted to move Nilson over to third. The throw to first on the play flew past the first baseman, allowing Nilson to score the deciding run.
Prior to the third game, the Lutes honored seniors Beal and Hall. The Lutes sent their seniors out with an 8-2 victory.
First-year Derrick Mahlum had a great day on the hill for the Lutes going 8.1 innings. He gave up just two runs on six hits with four walks and eight strikeouts.
The Lutes’ scoring rampage started in the second inning. With two men on, Wildung hit a sacrifice fly that scored Abe and put PLU on the board. Later on, Beal hit a two RBI single to left field to put the Lutes on top 3-0.
Beal had another RBI single in the fourth inning, and first-year Kory Vanderstaay drove in Abe and sophomore Tyler Thompson in the sixth inning with a base hit to put the Lutes on top 6-0.
In the eighth inning with Abe aboard, Wildung launched a homer over the right field wall to give the Lutes an 8-0 lead. Pacific scored two in the ninth, and sophomore Cory Nelson came in to strike out the final batter of the game to preserve the victory for the Lutes.
The Lutes finished the season with 25-14 overall record and 16-8 in Northwest Conference play. The Lutes playoff status has not yet been determined. 🅼