PARKLAND – Pacific Lutheran saw its five-game win streak come to an end Wednesday afternoon as Concordia scored five runs in the final three innings to defeat the Lutes 8-7 in a nonconference baseball contest at PLU Field.
The midweek nonconference contest against an NAIA program in Concordia was an opportunity for Pacific Lutheran to give playing time to many players who had not seen much action this season. The Lutes tallied 12 hits and 11 walks in the game, stranding 11 runners on base.
Tanner Bogart tallied two hits, including a double, and drove in three runs, while Brett Johnson and Tanner Williams also tallied a double among a pair of hits. Williams also walked twice, joining Kit Banko and Kyler Blades with multiple walks in the game. Frank Airey picked up hits in both of his at bats in the game. Jake Otness pitched the first five innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits, while Kort Skoda threw the final four innings and took the loss after allowing four earned runs.
PLU got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning. Banko walked and Johnson singled to left center to put runners on the corners. A throwing error by the catcher on a pickoff attempt allowed Banko to score from third and give PLU an early 1-0 lead. Concordia battled back with three runs in the top of the second inning, taking advantage of two hits, a walk and a PLU error to take a brief two-run lead.
Two more runs for the Lutes in the bottom of the frame tied it up. Casey Dawes walked and Matt Vick singled to right, setting the stage for a two-RBI double by Bogart that made it 3-3. The Lutes reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the fourth, putting together a two-out rally courtesy of four walks. Following a pair of strikeouts to open the inning, Blades and Banko walked and Johnson doubled to left to score Blades and put two in scoring position. Lee Larson walked to load the bases, and Williams walked to force in a run and make it 5-3.
Dawes led off the bottom of the fifth with an infield single, and Adam Stump walked to put two on. Bogart pushed a ground ball single through the left side to score Dawes and give the Lutes a 6-3 lead. But Concordia started to make its way back in the top of the seventh, using two hits and a PLU error to pull within one at 6-5.
The Cavaliers turned the one-run deficit into a one-run advantage in the top of the eighth, as a two-out single to center score two and made it 7-6 Concordia. But the Lutes responded with a run to tie it in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of a ball hitting an umpire to go for an infield base hit for Williams after Sean Rehon led off with a single. Ben Welch reached on a fielder's choice groundout, and Rehon came around to score on a CU error on the play.
A leadoff walk for the Cavaliers proved to be the winning run in the top of the ninth, as a one-out CU single brought the runner home for the 8-7 lead. PLU put the potential tying and winning runs on base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, but a full-count strikeout ended the game.
Skoda took the loss to fall to 2-2 this season, while Quinn Eldridge picked up the win for Concordia after allowing only one unearned run over the game's final three innings. PLU falls to 23-9 this season, while Concordia improves to 23-19.
The Lutes return to action this weekend, hosting Lewis & Clark in the final Northwest Conference series of the 2015 regular season. Two wins in the three games will guarantee the Lutes at least a share of the 2015 NWC regular-season title as well as the right to host the inaugural NWC Tournament.