Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
SPOKANE, Wash. – After earning a doubleheader sweep the previous day against host Whitworth University, the shoe was on the other foot for the 12th-ranked Pacific Lutheran University baseball team on Sunday, missing the series sweep at Markel Field with a 5-4 setback before dropping a non-conference contest to the Pirates 17-5.
In the opner, the Lutes (14-5, 12-3 Northwest Conference) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Connor Cantu drove in Matt Vick on a single to right center but the Pirates (11-8, 4-7 NWC) answered, pushing across a run in the bottom of the second and adding three more in the fourth to take the 4-2 lead. PLU tied the game in the sixth with Ben Welch hitting a two run home run, scoring Cantu but Whitworth got the last laugh, manufacturing a run in the eighth inning for what proved to be the decisive score.
"We played good defense and we did a decent job offensively in game three," Head Coach Nolan Soete said. "We did a poor job on the mound. We walked eight batters. That is never a good thing, especially when you are a playing a good team."
PLU pitchers didn't have their best day on the mound. Cole Johnson got the start, and lasted three innings, giving up four runs, five walks, and managed to strike out three batters. Andrew Curran was solid in relief. The Freshman went four innings, giving up one run and striking out one.
At the plate, Cantu led the Lutes, finishing the game with three hits.
Game two was a makeup game from the Northwest Conference Preseason Tournament that was scheduled for early February. PLU gave up six runs in the bottom of the third, then four more in the fourth.
Anthony Gosline and Landon Packard drove in all five runs for the Lutes in the nightcap. Gosline hit a solo home run in the top of the third. Later, he drove in Ben Welch with a double. He finished the day going three-for-five. Packard had one hit, but it was a three run bomb that brought in Gosline and Frank Airey.
"It was a successful weekend for conference games," Nolan Soete said. "Taking two out of three on the road in Spokane is tough to do. The weekend ended on a sour note. Game four was disappointing, but we will learn from it and get better."
The Lutes return home to host Whitman College in a three game NWC series next weekend, with a non-conference game to follow the series on Sunday afternoon.