Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University baseball team split the day one doubleheader with George Fox University on Saturday, securing the 5-2 victory in the opener before falling 14-7 in the nightcap.
Jacob Gleichman got the start on the mound for the Lutes (18-9, 16-7 Northwest Conference) in game one against the Bruins (13-16, 9-11 NWC), going seven strong innings, allowing six hits, one walk, and one earned run. He struck out five, throwing 111 pitches, of which 74 were strikes. Andrew Curran pitched the final two innings of the game to pick up the save.
"My outing felt good," Gleichman said. "My two-seam fastball was working really well. My defense helped me out, they are always good. They are on of the best in the country and they have performed like that all year."
The Bruins would tie the game in the top of the fifth before the Lutes added two more runs in the bottom of the frame. Ben Welch doubled home Matt Vick, as Connor Cantu moved to third. Cantu would come into score on a sacrifice fly from Packard.
George Fox cut the lead to one when they scored a run in the top of the eighth. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Packard doubled to extend the inning. Kory VanderStaay followed by crushing a two-run home run over the left field fence, giving the Lutes a couple insurance runs heading into the ninth.
"The guy had been working away with changeup all day, and then would try to bust me inside," VanderStaay said. "He was able to do it effectively a couple times. I just sat on it in that last at bat. It felt good to go up by three runs."
"It was really important," Nolan Soete said. "At the time we only had a one-run lead. Psychologically, throwing up an extra run or two there is very important. It was a clutch hit by Landon to get on and then for VanderStaay to drive them in."
Game two wasn't as kind to the Lutes, as the Bruins scored nine runs before PLU got on the board. The deficit was large but the Lutes were able to cut into the lead, scoring all seven of their runs in a two-inning stretch. Packard was solid going two-for-five with a run batted in and two runs scored. Marques Carlson was two-for-four with two RBI. Jacob Clements had a single that drove in two. The Lutes drew seven walks, but left eight runners on base, snapping their home winning streak at 14 games, a streak spanning back to March 19, 2016.
A couple of relievers had nice outings for PLU. Chaz Lopez went 2 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits while striking out five. Riley Johnson pitched 2/3 of an inning with a walk and a strikeout. Aaron Foust went an inning, with a walk and a strikeout.
"The last few guys threw well," Soete said. It's the best that Chaz has thrown at PLU so far. It should be a confidence booster. When he throws strikes, he is pretty dominant."
The series concludes tomorrow with first pitch schedule for noon. A non-conference game is scheduled to follow.
"We need to put the hitting and the pitching together at the same time," Soete said. "We've played pretty solid defense all year. When we've gotten in trouble, it's because we haven't put the hitting and pitching together at the same time."