Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University baseball team tallied a pair of non-conference victories on Friday afternoon, downing 12th-ranked California Lutheran University 11-4 and 5-3 at PLU Field.
PLU (21-10) trailed the Kingsmen (21-8) 3-2 entering the bottom of the eighth inning before exploding for 10 runs. The big inning was bookended by a couple of huge hits. Connor Cantu and Tanner Williams were on base when Anthony Gosline came to the plate. Gosline ripped a double down the left field line, giving the Lutes a 4-3 lead. Later, Williams smashed a three run home run over the left field wall, concluding the offensive outburst.
"It felt great," Williams said. "I was happy to chip in and make the inning even bigger."
The Lutes got an outstanding pitching performance from Jacob Gleichman. Gleichman went 7 1/3 innings, giving up five hits and two walks. He struck out four and allowed just two earned runs. Andrew Curran came on in relief, going 1 2/3 innings, striking out two while picking up the win.
"I was locating my fastball down in the zone," Gleichman said. "We preach it at practice, and it always feels good to do your job and see the results turn in your favor. The team picked me up in the eighth. It was great seeing our offense explode that inning. It feels good beating a nationally-ranked team who have been playing really good ball. It was a great team effort all around."
Game two started with a bang for the Lutes. The team allowed a run in the top half of the inning, but was picked up by Landon Packard in the bottom half of the inning. The senior second baseman hit a towering fly ball over the left field wall, scoring Williams and giving the Lutes an early lead.
In the sixth inning the Lutes trailed 3-1. The team would rally, starting when Williams drove in Cantu with a single through the left side of the infield. Gosline took advantage of a hanging breaking ball, blasting a two-run shot over the right field wall, scoring Williams.
"Felt great giving the team a chance to take a lead and build on it," Gosline said. "We played really well all around with moving runners over into scoring position, and getting the chance to capitalize in those situations was awesome."
The Lutes strung together a nice pitching performance shared by five different players. Chad Gideon got the start, going 5 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits and three runs. Chaz Lopez came on before being relieved by Lee Larson. Larson threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings with one strikeout. Tanner Zuber replaced him before Williams came on for the save. Williams worked a clean inning to pick up the save and securing a win for the Lutes.
"Gideon had a decent start," Head Coach Nolan Soete said. "I thought Larson threw really well and I thought Williams came and did a really good job at the end."
The Lutes conclude the series with the Kingsmen on Sunday. PLU will honor its 11 seniors pregame around 11:40 a.m. with first pitch slated for 12 p.m.
"We need to play well again," Soete said. "Cal Lu is a very good team, they are well coached. We need Cole (Johnson) to come out and throw a good game. Our defense needs to play like they did today and we'll need some timely hitting."