Written by Student Assistant Carson Barnett
TACOMA, Wash. – The 18th-ranked Pacific Lutheran University baseball team captured its third series sweep of the season on Monday against Northwest Conference rival Whitman College, cruising to the 10-3 victory. The Lutes cranked out 20 hits and turned three double plays in the series finale to maintain a commanding lead atop the NWC standings.
"Anytime you can sweep a team in this conference it's a very good weekend," said head coach Nolan Soete. "The team brought a lot of energy and focus today and pounded out twenty hits, anytime you do that it's going to be a good day. Pitching was a lot better today as we only had four walks and hit-by-pitches as limiting those have been our main focus," Soete concluded.
The Lutes (17-5, 15-3 NWC) never trailed in the game, scoring three runs early in the first inning and didn't stop there. Starting pitcher Cole Johnson (1-0) threw a strong seven innings allowing only two earned runs and had seven strikeouts. Lee Larson closed the last two innings, allowing only one earned run on just two hits.
The PLU offense was the most impressive aspect to this game as they finished with two players with three hits apiece. The Lutes tacked on runs early as Landon Packard singled to the left side in the first inning along with RBIs from both Marques Carlson and Jacob Clements to build a 3-0 lead.
The bottom of the second was much the same for Packard as he picked up another RBI single through the left side scoring Connor Cantu for the 4-1 advantage. Junior catcher Matt Vick came through in the clutch in the fifth inning with an RBI single scoring Jacob Bockelie. And just when you thought Packard's day was over; he decided to add one more RBI single in the sixth inning scoring senior Ben Welch.
"As you saw on the scoreboard we banged out twenty hits, I was just a small part of that. We saw the ball get elevated and put good swings on them and the rest took care of itself," said Packard.
The Lutes tacked on four more runs in the eighth that started with a pinch-hit RBI triple from Brett Johnson that scored Kory VanderStaay. After a walk from Carlson and a wild pitch, Casey Dawes decided to chime in on the action with an RBI double to deep center field. Catcher Frank Airey finished the Lutes scoring with an RBI single to left field.
Sophomore Marques Carlson got his second start of the season at first base today and made the most of it going two-for-four with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI on the day.
"It was just a fun day, everyone was pretty loose and it was just fun to be at the ballpark and play today," said Carlson.
12 Lutes ended the day with a base hit with Packard and VanderStaay pacing the way with three hits.
The Lutes return to action for a three game series at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon starting on Saturday at noon.