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April 21, 2012

Lutes Roll to Baseball Twinbill Sweep of Pioneers

PORTLAND, Ore. - Pacific Lutheran collected 29 hits in sweeping aside Lewis & Clark, 11-1 and 11-2, in Northwest Conference baseball games played Saturday at Huston Sports Complex.

With the wins the Lutes improve to 22-11 overall and more importantly stay in the hunt for a conference title, improving to 14-6 in the NWC standings. PLU is in third place, two games behind leader Pacific (16-4) and one behind Whitworth (15-5). Lewis & Clark is mired at the bottom of the conference with a 4-19 NWC record and it is 7-32 overall.

Game 1 - PLU 11, Lewis & Clark 1

Trevor Lubking improved his season record to 4-3 with another outstanding starting performance in the first game. Pitching eight innings, Lubking allowed just one run on four hits while striking out 10 and walking just one. In his last two starts the left-handed freshman out of White River High School has fanned 23 batters in 15 1/3 innings. AJ Konopaski pitched the final inning, allowing a hit and striking out one batter.

Lewis & Clark got on the board initially, piecing together a walk, double and single a run in the first inning.

PLU made sure the lead didn't last long, scoring four times in the second on four hits. Nick Hall drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Bo Pearson hit an infield single to drive in another, and Dominick Courcy followed with a two-run homer, his first of the year. The Lutes added a run in the fifth on Markus McClurkin's RBI double and got two more in the sixth on a run-scoring double by Jacob Hoffman and a RBI single by Curtis Wildung.

The Lutes continued to play add-on. Courcy drove in a run with a single in the seventh, Jaron Iwakami did the same in the eighth, and Hoffman drove in the final run with a fielder's choice grounder in the ninth.

The Lutes finished the game with 16 hits including a 4-for-6 performance with three runs scored, three RBI and a steal by Courcy. Brock Gates had two hits, two steals and three runs scored, and Corey Moore, Hoffman, Iwakami and Pearson all had a pair of hits.

Game 2 - PLU 11, Lewis & Clark 2

After falling behind in the first inning of the opener, the Lutes raced out to a 7-1 lead after four innings and never looked back. The Pioneers committed six errors to hurt their own cause.

PLU scored a run courtesy of two L&C miscues in the first, Courcy had a sacrifice fly for another run in the second, and Iwakami hit a run-scoring double after an error accounted for the first run. Leading 4-1, the Lutes tallied three runs in the fourth on Moore's single and a two-run homer by Hoffman.

Lewis & Clark got a run back in the fifth to cut its deficit to 7-2, but Pacific Lutheran put the game away with four runs on four hits and an error in the sixth inning. Gates drove in two with a single, another scored on an error, and Iwakami hit a run-scoring double for the final tally.

Gates was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI, and Iwakami was 3-for-5 with a pair of runs driven in and a steal. Adding a pair of hits apiece were Courcy, Moore and Hoffman.

Nathan Eisenhauer improved his record to 6-1, working 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. Ryan Frost started the game and allowed two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out six in 4 2/3 innings. Brandon Lundeberg closed out the game with two scoreless innings.

PLU and Lewis & Clark close out the series - and the Pioneers' season - with a nine-inning game starting at noon on Sunday.

- PLU -