Lutes Move to Top of NWC Softball Standings
PARKLAND - Pacific Lutheran moved to the top spot in the Northwest Conference softball standings on a mostly sunny Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader sweep of the visiting George Fox Bruins.
The Lutes (11-4 overall, 10-1 conference) moved past seven-time defending champion Linfield (8-1) with 11-3 and 5-1 wins over the Bruins (6-12, 1-7). The first game ended after five inning because of the eight-run rule. The games were played on Saturday after originally being snowed out back on Feb. 26.
Game One: PLU 11, George Fox 3 (5 innings)
Stacey Hagensen improved her pitching record to 7-1, allowing only one earned run on six hits while going the distance. She struck out five batters and walked just one.
The Lutes used their speed to generate a run in the first as Amanda Goings and Kaely Cuthill had back-to-back singles and steals of second. Goings ended up scoring on Hagensen's fielder's choice ground ball.
George Fox scored all three of its runs with two outs in the fourth inning. Kayla Ward drove in a run with a single, and two more runs came in on a bases-loaded fielding error.
The Lutes came right back with five more runs in the fourth to make it 10-3. Hagensen had a run-scoring single and later scored on a wild pitch, Nitta delivered two more runs with a double, and the fifth run scored on an error.
Goings ended the game on the run rule when she led off the bottom of the sixth with her second homer of the season, an opposite-field blast to left.
Goings led the way with three hits and three runs scored, while Nitta contributed two hits and four runs batted in. Cuthill and Matsunaga also had a pair of hits for the Lutes, while Bethany Chriss paced the Bruins' six-hit offense with a double and single.
Game Two: PLU 5, George Fox 1
Kaaren Hatlen threw her second straight seven-inning complete game for the Lutes, allowing only six hits while walking one and striking out five. Her record is 3-1 this season. The only run came in the third inning on Kris Trindle's single.
PLU scored two runs in the first inning when Cuthill hit a double to drive in Goings, who led off with a base hit. Cuthill then scored on a George Fox error.
After the Bruins cut their deficit to 2-1, PLU used four hits to score three times in the fourth inning. With Matsunaga and Haley Harshaw on third and second following hits, Ami Gran hit a single to drive in a run, and Goings plated another with a base hit. Cuthill's ground out drove in the third run of the frame.
The Lutes had nine hits in the game, with Going, Harshaw and Gran all contributing a pair of hits to the attack. No George Fox player had more than one hit in the game.
PLU plays its next 20 games on the road, including a four-game series next weekend against Whitworth University in Spokane.
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