Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
SPOKANE, Wash. – An unbelievable performance by the 12th-ranked Pacific Lutheran University baseball team's offense powered the Lutes to a doubleheader sweep the first day of a four-game series at Markel Field against Northwest Conference preseason favorite Whitworth University. The Lutes collected runs early an often, winning by scores of 15-6 and 10-3.
The PLU (14-3, 12-2 NWC) bats banged out 41 hits over two games, including 15 doubles and three home runs. They drew five walks and only struck out three times in 92 at bats.
"It probably is the best all around offensive day I have seen in my 11 years coaching at PLU," Head Coach Nolan Soete said. "We did it against a quality opponent and quality pitchers."
Game one featured 22 hits. Landon Packard, Cole Johnson and Jacob Bockelie combined for nine of those hits, six of which were extra base hits. The trio drove in 12 runs. Packard was three-for-five with two doubles and home run, coming across to score four times. C. Johnson was also three-for-five with a double. Bockelie was three-for-four with a pair of doubles.
"I came into the weekend wanting to be selective, yet still aggressive," Packard said. "I was seeing the ball well. I got pitches I thought I could handle, put good swings on them and the results took care of themselves. Everyone swung it well today. These were two big team wins."
Game two wasn't much different, as the team had 19 hits. Packard missed the cycle by a triple, going three-for-five with a double and home run while driving in three runs. It was leadoff man Ben Welch who led the team with four RBI's. He was four-for-six with two doubles and a home run.
"The team was hitting the ball really well today," Welch said. "There were a lot of guys on base all day. I tried to see the ball deep in the zone and make solid contact. Awesome day offensively for the team. It was a lot of fun."
The Lutes had solid outings on the mound from both starting pitchers. Jacob Gleichman picked up his fourth win of the season while going seven innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs. He struck out five Pirates (9-8, 3-7 NWC) and walked just one. Chad Gideon started game two and went six innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits. He walked four and had three strikeouts. The PLU defense was stellar, committing no errors during the twinbill.
"Gleichman and Gideon both had quality starts and Lee Larson did a great job finishing game two," Soete said. "Our defense was excellent, and it has been all year."
The Lutes and Pirates square off in two more games tomorrow. First pitch of game one is slated for 11 a.m.
"We need to come out ready to compete." Soete explained "Whitworth is a well coached team, they will be ready to play well. We to put all three phases together like we did today."