Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – A three-run eighth inning proved the deciding factor on Friday afternoon as the Pacific Lutheran University baseball team opened up Northwest Conference play with a 5-2 setback against host University of Puget Sound.
Ben Welch was great offensively, driving in both runs for the Lutes (2-2, 0-1 NWC). It started in the top of the first when the shortstop swatted a solo home run over the left field wall on just the second pitch of the game to give the Lutes the 1-0 lead. In the fifth, Welch skied one to right, scoring Kory VanderStaay on the sacrifice fly as Welch finished the day two-for-four.
"I am trying to see deep in the zone and hit it to the opposite field," Welch said. "I saw a couple pitches I could drive."
The Lutes were down 2-1 prior to Welch's game-tying fifth inning sac fly. The Loggers (4-4, 1-0 NWC) would take the lead for good in the bottom of the 8th, plating three runs off of three hits.
"We still had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth. If a few things go our way rather than theirs we tie it if not take the lead."
Landon Packard was strong at the plate for the Lutes. The senior second basemen finished the day three-for-five with a triple while VanderStaay finished two-for-four with a run scored.
Cole Johnson got the start on the mound for the Lutes. Johnson gave his team 5 2/3 innings, giving up four hits and two walks. The senior struck out two, and gave up two runs.
The Lutes play a doubleheader tomorrow at Puget Sound with first pitch set for 10 a.m.
"We fully expect to win two tomorrow," Welch said. "We need a couple good outings from Gleichman and Gideon. Minimize mistakes in the field and on the bases."