Written by Student Assistant Sarah Cornell-Maier
FOREST GROVE, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran University baseball team came out in full force on Saturday, sweeping Northwest Conference rival Pacific University 4-3 and 3-2 to open up the three-game series.
The Lutes (8-8, 6-2 NWC) started off the morning with a strong showing by sophomore pitcher Chad Gideon, who was coming off of a game this Wednesday against the University of Puget Sound.
Gideon pitched three scoreless innings and made it through six full innings before exiting in the seventh to bring in first year Alex Gregory to relieve. Gregory stranded several runners and finished out the game for the Lutes, striking out three and earning the save.
Offensively, the Lutes had a dynamite fourth inning, scoring on an RBI single from Matt Vick and a blast of a triple from Connor Cantu. This powerful inning got the Lutes far enough ahead that even when they let in runs in the fourth and the sixth innings, Pacific (8-11, 4-7 NWC) couldn't catch up to the Lutes.
"It was a good day," said Head Coach Nolan Soete. "There was great pitching all the way around."
The second game for the Lutes demonstrated just that, with multi-tasking pitcher and designated hitter Cole Johnson pitching five scoreless innings. After a couple tough match-ups in the bottom of the seventh for Johnson, junior Jacob Mortensen came into the game to finish it out for the Lutes, ending the inning by stranding three batters on base.
For the second game in a row, Gregory came in as a releiver for the Lutes, only allowing a single hit and striking out three batters to keep the Lutes on top for the rest of the game, netting his second save of the day.
"Gideon and Johnson had great outings and Mortensen did a great job in relief in a pressure situation, " said Soete. "Alex Gregory was absolutely dominant in both games."
On the offensive side of the second game, the Lutes battled hard, racking up 10 hits throughout the game. However, the Lutes were held scoreless until yet another blowout inning, this game in the top of the 8th.
The Lutes were down 2-0 when Connor Cantu came to the plate and got a bunt single. Max Cummings came in to pinch hit for Tori Doten, and hit a single to advance Cantu to second. With a pinch runner, Corey Ng, in for Cummings, Jacob Bockelie came in once again and slammed a two-RBI triple into left center field.
With the game tied up, Cole Johnson was walked and, with two outs, Anthony Gosline came up to the plate. On the 0-2 pitch, Gosline drove a single into right field, scoring Bockelie from third to drive in the game-winning run. Gosline finished the nightcap three-for-four at the plate to pace the squad.
"Anthony Gosline demonstrated such a high level of mental toughness today, I can't even begin to tell you how proud of that kid I am," said Soete. "Max had a big pinch hit and Bockelie was clutch. It was truly a team effort."
The Lutes return to Forest Grove tomorrow at 12 p.m. in search of the series sweep against Pacific.