McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Brian Ranta, the 2012 Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year, closed his collegiate career with a complete game seven-hitter, leading George Fox past Pacific Lutheran, 7-1, in a college baseball game played Friday night at Ray Helser Field.
Ranta, whose father, Bill, played his collegiate baseball at Pacific Lutheran, improved his record to 7-1 by striking out 11 PLU batters. The only run he allowed was unearned and came in the first inning. George Fox is now 20-18 this season, while the Lutes fall to 24-14.
Pacific Lutheran's only run came on a leadoff infield hit by Dominick Courcy, a passed ball, and a two-out single to right field by Brock Gates. For Gates, earlier today named the Northwest Conference Player of the Year, it was his 47th run batted in of the season and the 123rd of his career. He needs three more RBI to surpass Ryan Aratani (2008-11) for the PLU career lead, and with five more runs batted in he would go past Ben Shively's single-season mark set in 2009.
After giving up that one run, however, Ranta limited the Lutes to just four hits through the first seven frames. PLU got a small rally going in the eighth on back-to-back two-out singles by Jacob Hoffman and Gates, but Ranta got out of the jam with a ground out. Ryan Frost had a base hit for the Lutes in the ninth, but Ranta finished up for the complete game effort.
While the senior right-hander stymied the Lutes, George Fox got to PLU freshman left-hander Trevor Lubking for two runs in the fourth and five more in the fifth.
All-conference catcher Josh Rapacz hit a two-run homer to get his team on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, and a six-hit inning led to five Bruins runs an inning later. Danny Clifford provided the big blow, blasting a three-run homer to center field with two outs.
Lubking, named to the all-conference second team, dropped to 5-4 with the loss. He allowed seven earned runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He maintained his ratio of striking out more than one batter per inning, however, fanning seven Bruins while not allowing a walk.
Collin Nilson, another freshman and also a second team all-conference choice for the Lutes, retired the only two batters he faced before giving way to PLU's third frosh pitcher of the game, AJ Konopaski. He allowed just two hits while working the last three innings.
Both Courcy and Gates finished the game with a pair of hits for Pacific Lutheran. The Lutes are back in action on Saturday afternoon, facing host Linfield in another non-conference contest.
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