MARSHALL, Texas - Stacey Hagensen notched her third consecutive shutout in the opening game and then threw just one pitch to get a save in the second contest as Pacific Lutheran swept East Texas Baptist, 4-0 and 3-2, in non-conference softball action at ETBU's Taylor Field.
The Lutes, 22-6 overall and ranked No. 7 in Division III softball, are now 6-0 on their spring break trip to Texas with two doubleheaders left to play. PLU plays two against LeTourneau in nearby Longview on Wednesday, and then has perhaps its toughest test on this trip when it plays at Texas-Tyler on Thursday.
Hagensen, a senior from Bellevue, continued her impressive pitching by allowing just five hits while walking none and striking out two. The win was the 11th in a row for the 2011 Northwest Conference Pitcher of the Year, and it improved her season record to 12-3. It also came at the expense of an East Texas Baptist team that just two years ago won the NCAA Division III national title with a championship game victory over PLU's NWC rival Linfield.
Both pitchers were on their games in the opener. Hagensen and ETBU's Ashton Brey matched each other with shutout pitching through the first five innings, though both teams had chances to score. The Lutes left two runners in scoring position in the first inning and another in the second. PLU ended an ETBU rally with a double play in the second inning, and the Tigers stranded two runners in the fourth.
Pacific Lutheran scored all of the game's runs in the sixth inning, benefitting from three hits and a costly error. Amanda Goings led off with a single, advanced to second on Haley Harshaw's sacrifice, and then moved up a base on Hagensen's single. Goings scored the game's first run when Kaaren Hatlen's grounder was misplayed, and two batters later Katie Lowery delivered a clutch bases-loaded single to score two runs. Glenelle Nitta followed with a sacrifice fly to score pinch runner Tori Hamura, and that was it for the scoring.
ETBU had one last rally in the bottom of the seventh, getting two runners on base with singles, but Hagensen coaxed a ground ball for the third out.
Both teams had five hits in the game, and as she has done throughout the Texas trip, sophomore catcher Katie Lowery came up big for the Lutes with two hits and two RBI. Hagensen also had a pair of singles for PLU.
The second game had even more drama than the opener and Lowery played a key role as PLU rallied from a 2-0 deficit to pull out the 3-2 victory.
East Texas Baptist ended a string of 36 consecutive scoreless innings thrown by PLU pitchers on this trip when it scored twice in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Hatlen, who started the game for the Lutes, hit a batter and then gave up a home run to Kayla Garcia.
Unfazed, the Lutes tied the game with two runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning. Hagensen walked and Hatlen was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and with one out both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Lowery promptly stroked a run-scoring single through the middle of the diamond, and Nitta followed with a sacrifice fly that tied the contest.
PLU put together a two-out rally in the fifth that resulted in what proved to be the winning run. Harshaw hit a single and Hagensen walked, leading to Hatlen's RBI single to center field.
ETBU got runners to second and third in the fifth, but that rally ended on a ground out.
Clinging to a one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh, PLU relief pitcher Leah Butters gave up a two-out pinch hit single. Hagensen replaced Butters in the circle and on the first pitch, Lowery picked off a pinch runner at first to end the contest.
PLU finished with six hits, including two by Hatlen, while the Tigers managed just five. Butters was stellar in picking up the win in relief, allowing no runs on just three hits. She improved her season record to 3-2 with the victory.
- PLU -