Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – Landon Packard made it a memorable senior day on Saturday afternoon, driving in all three runs to power the Pacific Lutheran University baseball team to a 3-2 victory over 12th-ranked California Lutheran University to secure the series sweep.
11 PLU seniors were honored before the first pitch was thrown. None had as big of game as Packard. Packard went 3-for-4 and was responsible for driving in all three of the Lutes' runs. He hit a homer in the first inning, a triple in the third, and singled in the fifth. His RBI hits in both the third and fifth plated Jacob Bockelie who finished two-for-three at the plate. Packard explained that his big day meant more with it taking place on senior day.
"We needed a win today against a team like that," Packard said. "It put us back into position to get an at large bid with that win. That's what we needed to do. I put good swings on balls and the rest took care of itself."
The Lutes (22-10) got a solid performance from Cole Johnson on the mound. He went deep into the game, going 7 1/3 innings. He scattered eight hits while allowing just two runs while striking out one. Tanner Williams came on to close out the game. He went the remaining 1 2/3 innings, giving up two hits while striking out three to earn the save.
Cal Lutheran (22-9) scored runs in the third and sixth but was unable to close the gap, getting swept in the three-game series after entering the weekend riding a 15-game win streak.
"It was fun," Johnson said. "I've been feeling a lot better lately. I didn't pitch very well in the beginning, now I'm doing better. I'm just trying to keep the train rolling. Now the games mean something. Anyway I can help us out is great and I'm just trying to keep that going."
The Lutes will go on to compete in the Northwest Conference Tournament April 21-23. After sweeping Cal Lutheran, who was ranked 12th in the nation entering the weekend, Head Coach Nolan Soete is pleased with where his team is at.
"We are excited," Soete said. "You couldn't have drawn up a better way to go into a weekend. We got to have a really good week of practice. Our guys are ready and excited."