Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
MCMINNVILLE, Ore. – Kory VanderStay and Landon Packard combined to drive in seven runs over two games as the Pacific Lutheran University baseball swept its doubleheader against host Linfield College by scores of 4-3 and 9-4 on Sunday afternoon.
It took extra innings to decide game one of the doubleheader. Landon Packard led off the inning with a single down the left field line. Jacob Backelie completed a successful sacrifice bunt, moving Packard into scoring position with one out. Kory VanderStaay came to the plate, and drove in Packard, giving the Lutes a 3-2 lead. VanderStaay advanced to third on a Cole Johnson single and would go on to score on a wild pitch as the Lutes took a 4-2 lead. They'd go on to win 4-3.
"It feels great," VanderStaay said. "Everyone did their job starting with Landon getting on, then Bockelie bunting him over to scoring position and luckily I was able to hit Landon in. It was a great team effort."
Tanner Williams picked up the win on the mound. He pitched three innings, allowing two hits, walking three and striking out three. Cole Johnson came on in the bottom of the 10th, striking out one to pick up the save.
Game two saw the Lute offense get off to a quick start. Packard drove in Anthony Gosline on a single to right in the top of the second. VanderStaay drove in Ben Welch, giving the Lutes a 2-0 lead. Linfield answered with two runs of their own as the game was tied after two innings.
The Lutes (9-3, 7-2 NWC) broke it open in the top of the third. VanderStaay drove in a pair of runs on a single to center field. Welch drove in a run. Packard capped the three-run inning with a single to left, allowing Welch to score. The team would go on to score four runs in the fifth, securing a 9-4 win.
"The biggest thing for me right now is that I'm seeing the ball well," VanderStaay said. "I'm getting deep in counts and seeing a lot of pitches which allows me to wait until I get a good pitch to hit."
Andrew Curran came on to pitch in the fourth inning. He would go five innings, giving up one run. He walked two batters. The freshman commanded the zone, striking out six batters on his way to picking up his first career win.
After sweeping the day, the Lutes secured the series win over the Wildcats (7-6, 5-4 NWC), the third consecutive series win in conference play for Pacific Lutheran.
"We battled," Packard said. "We dropped the first one and it was a close game until the 8th, then it got away from us. We showed a lot of fight to come back and win two straight to win the series. Good teams find ways how to win games in tough conditions. And that's what we did today."
The Lutes return to the diamond on Saturday with a twinbill against Pacific University. First pitch at PLU Field is slated for 11 a.m.