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PLU Ends Texas Road Trip With Split at Tyler

Amanda Goings

TYLER, Texas - Pacific Lutheran rallied to win the eight-inning first game, 3-2, before host Texas-Tyler collected a 7-0 victory in the second contest as the Lutes ended their Texas softball road trip with an 8-2 record.

By all accounts it was a long but successful jaunt to the Lone Star State for the Lutes, who played five doubleheaders over a six-day period. They won five of the games by shutout, twice defeated 2010 national champion East Texas Baptist, and today split with a No. 10-ranked Texas-Tyler team that is now 19-5 this season after placing third in the nation last year.

Pacific Lutheran, tied for seventh in this week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III poll, is now 24-8 overall. After flying back to the Pacific Northwest on Friday, the Lutes host Willamette on Saturday and No. 1-ranked and defending national champion Linfield on Sunday in Northwest Conference doubleheaders.

First Game - PLU 3, Texas-Tyler 2 (8 innings)

After a rain delay, the first game got started about 90 minutes late. Pacific Lutheran's offense started a little late as well as the Lutes trailed 2-1 before tying the game in the seventh and winning it in the eighth.

The Lutes scored a run in the top of the first inning when Amanda Goings led off with a double and Montessa Califano following with an infield single. Kaaren Hatlen's base hit to right field scored Goings, but Califano ended up stranded at third.

Texas-Tyler replied with a run on three hits to make it 1-1 after one inning, and it took a 2-1 lead with another run on two hits in the fourth.

The Lutes had chances in the middle innings, leaving two runners on in the fourth and the bases full in the fifth, but they came through in the clutch when it counted. Ami Gran and Goings had back-to-back singles to open the inning, and after a force out, Stacey Hagensen hit a single to left field to drive in Goings with the tying run. PLU ended up leaving the bases loaded in that inning before winning the game with a run in the eighth.

Glenelle Nitta led off with a single but was forced out at second on Lindsey Matsunaga's grounder. Matsunaga moved up a base on Gran's ground out, leaving it to Goings to hit a two-out single to left field to drive in Matsunaga with the go-ahead run.

Hagensen retired Tyler in order in the bottom of the inning for her 13th win of the season against four losses. The senior right-hander allowed two runs on six hits and one walk while striking out six.

Pacific Lutheran collected 12 hits against Heather Abshire, who also walked two while fanning five. Goings had three hits and Califano collected two at the top of the order, and Hatlen, Nitta and Gran all joined in with two hits.

Second Game - Texas-Tyler 7, PLU 0

Pacific Lutheran suffered its first shutout loss of the season as right-hander Katelyn Thomason limited the Lutes to just five hits while walking one and fanning four. Hagensen had two hits to lead PLU.

The Lutes had a chance to get on the scoreboard in the first inning, loading the bases with just one out, but a strike out and ground out ended the threat. PLU had an opportunity to break up the shutout in the top of the seventh but a ground out ended the game with a runner on third base.

The Patriots took hold of the game in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs on three hits against PLU starter Hatlen. Leah Butters replaced her with one out in the inning and finished the rest of the contest. Tyler had success at the plate with 13 hits, including four by Joey Cronin.

- PLU -