TUCSON, Ariz. – Pacific Lutheran tallied its highest single-game run total in five years in a 23-14 first game victory that took nearly five hours before closing out the doubleheader sweep with a much closer 5-4 victory over Redlands in the finale Saturday.
Pacific Lutheran improves to 4-3 after the doubleheader sweep and will look to close out its trip to Arizona Sunday morning with another victory against a La Verne team the Lutes defeated 6-4 on Friday. The PLU offense combined for 33 hits between the two games Saturday, while Cole Johnson and Jacob Gleichman each earned their first victory on the mound for the Lutes.
Game one was an offensive eruption from the start, as PLU scored three runs in the first inning and, after a scoreless second, proceeded to score runs in six consecutive innings. Redlands rallied back with six runs in the fourth and three runs each in the eighth and ninth innings to make the score look closer – and more football-appropriate – than it really was. Defensive struggles for both teams meant that only five of Redlands' 14 runs were earned, while PLU totaled 15 earned runs as the squads combined for nine errors.
Drew Oord and Landon Packard combined to drive in 11 runs in the opener. Oord opened the day with a three-run home run in the top of the first inning, and he later added a double to finish the first game with three hits, two runs scored and six runs batted in while reaching base five times. Packard also reached base five times, although his approach likely left more of a mark than Oord's, as Packard twice was hit by a pitch while Oord reached twice via walk. Packard drove in five runs for the Lutes.
Connor Cantu balanced the approach of his teammates Oord and Packard, as he finished 2-for-2 with three walks and one hit-by-pitch to go with three runs scored and three runs batted in. Frank Airey added a home run for the Lutes as 12 different PLU players tallied at least one hit in the game.
Johnson pitched 5.2 innings, allowing eight runs – although only two were earned – to claim his first win. He helped his own cause in the batter's box, finishing the opener with three hits and a walk while scoring four runs. He added two more hits in the second game while serving as the Lutes' designated hitter.
Gleichman tossed six innings in the second game, allowing three earned runs on six hits to pick up the win, while Garrett Brown pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless relief for a well-earned save.
Oord added two more hits and another walk to his ledger in the second game, while Packard added another hit and was once again hit by a pitch. Cantu reached three more times via two hits and a walk, both scoring and driving in one run.
Redlands took the early lead with one run in the top of the first, and the Bulldogs added another in the third. PLU scored twice in the bottom of the inning and added three more in the fifth to claim a 5-2 lead, and the Lutes held on after Redlands made it a one-run game with two in the top of the seventh.
Sunday's game will give the Lutes a chance to go 4-0 on their annual early-season trip to Arizona for the first time since 2010. First pitch is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. MST.