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March 31, 2012

Lutes Find A Way to Earn Baseball Sweep of Chapman

ORANGE, Calif. - Pacific Lutheran got solid starting pitching from four freshman pitchers in addition to some timely hitting in both games on the way to sweeping host Chapman in a non-conference baseball doubleheader played Saturday afternoon at Hart Park.

With the doubleheader sweep, the Lutes improve their record to 16-8. Chapman, the 2011 NCAA Division III runner-up, is now 11-16 this season. The teams conclude their four-game series with a single nine-inning game starting at noon on Sunday.

First Game - PLU 8, Chapman 7

Dominick Courcy had a huge game for the Lutes, going 5-for-5 with two runs scored a run batted in, and the freshman pitching duo of Chris Bishop and AJ Konopaski combined to keep the Panthers just enough in check for PLU to get the victory.

Courcy got the Lutes going in the first with a leadoff double, and he scored after a sacrifice bunt and ground out. PLU added two runs in the third on two hits, a passed ball and a wild pitch, but Chapman replied with three runs on a PLU error and two hits, including a two-run double by James Parr.

Chapman took a 5-3 advantage with two runs in the fifth, with another PLU error helping the rally, but the Lutes scored five decisive runs in the seventh on four hits, a sacrifice fly, two walks and a wild pitch. Taylor Wattenberg, Corey Moore, Ethan Ottemiller, Sammy Davis and Courcy all drove in runs during the uprising.

The game was not decided however, as the Panthers scored twice in the ninth inning on three hits. With the tying run perched at third, Konopaski coaxed a fly out to end the game.

Second Game - PLU 5, Chapman 4 (10 innings)

Lubking had a strong start, limiting the Panthers to three runs, two earned, in seven innings. He allowed seven hits while walking one and striking out four. He did not get the decision, however, as Jacob Otness worked three innings to get the decision. He allowed a run on two hits while walking none and striking out two.

Chapman took a 1-0 lead in the third inning before the Lutes struck for single tallies in the fifth and sixth frames. Bishop, the winning pitcher in the opening game, led off the fifth with a walk, and Davis followed with a single that sent pinch runner Jacob Olsufka to third, and he scored from there on Zack Halverson's sacrifice fly. An inning later Corey Moore led off with a walk, stole second, and then came in on a single by Brock Gates.

Lubking was not able to hold Chapman, however, and the hosts regained a 3-2 advantage with two runs on three hits in the seventh.

Heading into their final at bat the Lutes needed a run to tie it, and they ended up scoring two. Gates and Jaron Iwakami collected one-out singles, and pinch hitter Bo Pearson followed by drawing a base on balls. Davis came through for the Lutes, lining a ball off of the Chapman third baseman that plated two runs. "The count started 0-2 and Sammy fought off some tough pitches before the big hit," PLU head coach Geoff Loomis said.

The Panthers came back to get the tying run in the bottom of the ninth, but the Lutes won the game with a run in the 10th. With one out Jacob Hoffman hit a triple to right field, and he scored moments later on a wild pitch.

Otness then closed out the game by retiring Chapman in order in the bottom of the inning.

The Lutes managed just seven hits - two by both Gates and Davis - compared to nine for Chapman.

- PLU -