Lutes Close Home Schedule with Sweep
PARKLAND - Pacific Lutheran completed its 2010 home baseball schedule with a 10-6 Northwest Conference victory over the visiting Lewis & Clark Pioneers Sunday afternoon.
The Lutes (30-7 overall, 18-3 NWC) finished a three-game sweep to stay one game ahead of Linfield for the Northwest Conference championship with a season-ending showdown between the two teams slated for next weekend in McMinnville, Ore. The Pioneers finished their season at 9-24 overall, 6-18 in Northwest Conference play.
Brock Gates led the Lutes with four hits and Dan Johansen set a new PLU single-season record with his 65th hit of the season to help give starter Scott Wall his sixth win of the season against one defeat.
Lewis & Clark opened the scoring in the second inning when Pioneer pitcher Eliot Smith led off with a single up the middle and third baseman Jim Bray followed it up with a single to center. After second baseman Zach Perez popped up to Ben Shively at third base, Andrew Frisina drew a walk to load the bases. Catcher Geoff Wertz brought home Smith with a sacrifice fly to left field, and shortstop Guiseppe Baffaro drove Bray home with a bloop single down the right field line.
The Lutes bounced back with three runs in the third. Catcher Ethan Ottemiller walked to start the inning and Sammy Davis worked a two-out walk to put runners at first and second. A single to left by Josh Takayoshi scored Ottemiller to pull the Lutes to within one. After Johansen reached on a fielding error to load the bases, Aratani singled to give PLU the 3-2 lead.
Bafarro came through again for the Pioneers in the fourth, tying the game with an RBI single to center field. His third and final hit of the game came in the top of the sixth inning when the shortstop doubled down the left field line to drive home Perez and give the Pioneers their final lead of the game, 4-3.
Pacific Lutheran regained the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth inning, rallying for three runs on four hits. Ryan Aratani and Gates opened the inning with back-to-back doubles to tie the game. With one out and runners at first and second, seniors Shively and Carl Benton hit consecutive RBI singles to give PLU the 6-4 lead.
Four runs in the eighth inning broke the game open for Pacific Lutheran. Ottemiller led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Benton walked with one out and, with Ottemiller on third, a pickoff attempt got past first base and allowed pinch runner Jaron Iwakami to score. Sammy Davis hit an infield single, and with two outs Johansen singled up the middle to drive home two runs. After Aratani walked to put runners at first and second, Gates singled to right for his fourth hit and second RBI of the afternoon.
In the top of the ninth, pinch hitter Nate Grisham drilled a one-out pitch over the left-center field fence for a two-run home run to close out the scoring.
Wall pitched six innings, giving up six hits and three earned runs. Pioneers starter Eliot Smith threw six innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits with five walks. Tucker Laurence and David La Douceur each pitched an inning in relief, with La Douceur giving up four PLU runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Nathan Eisenhauer pitched the final three innings for the Lutes to earn his second save of the season.
Pacific Lutheran honored the six seniors on its roster - Benton, Robert Bleecker, Paul DiPietro, Shively, Takayoshi and Trey Watt - before the game. Excluding sophomore year transfers Benton and Takayoshi, that group already goes into the record book as the most successful in PLU history with a total of 120 wins and counting. They have a chance to win their third Northwest Conference title when they visit Linfield next weekend.
- PLU -