Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – Big innings in the late parts of Saturday's Northwest Conference game allowed the Pacific Lutheran University baseball team to cruise past crosstown rival University of Puget Sound, 16-3.
The Lute offense got off to a quick start, striking for three runs in the first frame. Kory VanderStaay got the Lutes (3-2, 1-1 NWC) on the board when he ripped a single up the middle, bringing in Jacob Bockelie and Landon Packard. VanderStaay would come in to score when Brett Johnson reached on an error for the early 3-0 lead.
"I got to 3-2 pretty early and saw a couple pitches from there," VanderStaay said. "He came at me with all fastballs. The pressure was on the defense, they had to throw me a strike. I was sitting fastball and got it."
The Lute offense was quiet until the sixth inning. Brett Johnson drove a pitch over the right field wall for a solo home run. Later in the inning, Cole Johnson came to the plate with the bases loaded. Johnson skied the ball into shallow left field. Three Loggers converged on the ball, but none of them were able to make the catch. Anthony Gosline, Connor Cantu, and Bockelie hustled home to score.
PLU scored four more runs in the following inning. The seventh inning saw Ben Welch drove in Frank Airey on a single to left. Landon Packard doubled to center, bringing in Gosline and B. Johnson. Welch scored when Bockelie grounded out to the pitcher.
"It was a close game there until late," PLU Head Coach Nolan Soete said. "They did a good job grinding out at bats early on. As the game went on we saw a lot more pitches and took advantage of mistakes."
The eighth inning was quiet for the Lutes, as just one run came in to score. Casey Dawes singled in Matt Vick.
Again, the Lutes added four more runs in the ninth. Adam Stump had a pinch hit double that brought in VanderStaay. Tanner Williams capped the offensive explosion with a big bang of his own. Williams hit a three run home run over the left field wall.
"They had been throwing me inside during the last couple at bats," Williams said. "I found one to hit and it turned out good."
Jacob Gleichman (2-0) got the start on the mound for the Lutes. He went six innings, allowing just one hit while walking three and striking out three. Tanner Zuber, Andrew Curran and Aaron Foust each pitched one inning of relief.
"I had my fastball working outside really well," Gleichman said. "The infield was great and there were a lot of flyouts today. Everybody all around played good defense.
"A lot of guys got to play, which is nice," Soete said. "They all did a pretty good job."
PLU and UPS (4-5, 1-1 NWC) close out the series tomorrow at 12 p.m.