By Tyler Scott, Director of Athletic Communications
Pacific Lutheran softball fell to the visiting Pacific Boxers 19-23 after nearly four hours of play in the opener of Saturday’s doubleheader. The game featured 32 hits, 23 walks, nine hit batters and a total of 116 batters sent to the plate. It marked the highest scored contest in PLU’s program history with a combined 42 runs scored.
With the loss, Pacific Lutheran dropped to 1-4, 0-1 NWC. Pacific improved to 6-1 overall, 1-0 NWC. Boxer’s pitcher Allie Sims (4-0) was credited with the win while junior Leah Butters (0-2) took the loss.
Due to the length of the opener, officials called the nightcap prior to the fourth inning due to darkness. PLU’s softball field is not equipped with lights. The game will be postponed until April 6 when the Lutes travel to Oregon to face the Boxers on the road. Pacific led 2-1.
Senior Spencer Sherwin, a center fielder, led the way for the Lutes’ offense and collected five RBIs on two hits and two walks. Junior Kelsey Robinson went 3-for-4 with four runs batted in.
Right fielder Alison Behrends, a sophomore, had three hits with a double, and three runs scored while shortstop Lindsey Matsunaga, a senior, went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. First-year Emily McConnell was 1-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
PLU took a first-inning lead at the expensive of Pacific’s starting pitcher Sara Aasness. Aftering hitting Matsunaga to load the bases, Aasness hit senior Katie Lowery to put the Lutes on the board first. A three-error third inning for the Boxers would allow the Lutes to enter the fourth inning up 6-2.
However, the four-run cushion wouldn’t be enough as the Boxers’ bats came to life in a big way. Pacific scored nine runs on five hits including two home runs off the bats of Boxers’ center fielder Becca Moen and third baseman Kaitlyn Shikada.
But the Lutes wasted no time battling back. In the bottom of the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and no outs, Sherwin belted a triple down the right field line to clear the bases and shift the momentum in the Lutes’ favor. First-year Kailyn Osaki reached first on a throwing error to score Sherwin from third and tie the game at 11 apiece.
PLU looked to close things out in the top of the seventh as they held a 15-14 advantage, but a clutch two-out, two-run homer by Boxers’ first baseman Ashley Mitchell would spoil the Lutes plans. PLU matched Pacific in the home half of the seventh to force extra innings.
The Boxers sealed their fate in the top of the eighth, sending 12 batters to the plate in the seven-run frame that included two doubles and five walks. The Lutes responded with some noise of their own, putting up three more runs before Lowery lined out to third base for the long awaited final out.
Pacific Lutheran returns to action Sunday at noon, hosting a doubleheader against George Fox.