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No. 6 Lutes Head South For Big Weekend

Amanda Hall (left) and Glenelle Nitta
Amanda Hall (left) and Glenelle Nitta

THIS WEEK: The Pacific Lutheran University softball team travels to Oregon this weekend as the Lutes face off against Pacific University and Lewis & Clark College. Pacific Lutheran enters the weekend with a 24-10 record on the season. With a 14-4 mark in Northwest Conference play, the Lutes sit in second-place in the conference standings- trailing conference leaders Linfield College by two games. Friday, PLU travels to Forest Grove, Ore. for a double header against the Pacific University Boxers. First pitch Friday is set for 4 p.m. The next day, the Lutes square off with the Lewis and Clark College Pioneers. Saturday's double header is set to begin at noon.

MOVING ON UP: Despite two losses this past weekend to Linfield, PLU moved up two spots in this week's National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25 weekly poll. This week, the Lutes occupy the No. 6 spot in the poll after holding the No. 8 ranking last week.

KNOCKING OUT THE BOXERS: With a 6-12 record in NWC play this season, the Pacific University Boxers sit in sixth-place in the conference standings. Currently on a seven-game losing streak, Pacific has only managed to score nine runs during the team's seven-game skid. Last time the two teams met, on the opening weekend of NWC play, the Lutes swept the Boxers winning both games of the double header by scores of 9-1 and 10-5. With the two victories, PLU extended its winning streak over the Boxers to six games.  

SCOUTING THE PIONEERS: Occupying the cellar of the NWC standings, the Lewis and Clark College Pioneers have yet to win a game in conference play this season. At 2-27 on the year, the Pio's have scored the least amount of runs in the conference while also surrendering the most runs per game. Shortstop Caroline DeVincenzi leads the Pioneer offense this season. The senior is tied for the team-lead with 20 hits and her seven doubles on the season lead all Pioneers. The Lutes and Pioneers opened NWC play against each other this season in Parkland. PLU cruised to two victories over L&C pushing its winning streak over the Pioneers to 46 games.

Linfield 10, PLU 2: Shelby VandeBergh got the start for the Wildcats and limited the Lutes to two runs on five hits in a complete-game performance. She improved her season record to 2-0 with the victory. Linfield managed just one hit in the frame, which was a bunt single by Karleigh Prestianni. They made the most of two walks, a hit batter, a passed ball, a wild pitch, and a big error that led to three runs. Linfield went on to score at least one run in every inning. Jaydee Baxter hit a homer in the second, Doucette clubbed one of the longest homers ever hit at the PLU field in the fourth, and Haylie Watson added a solo shot leading off the fifth. In all the 'Cats finished with nine hits, led by Prestianni, Brosig and Mixsell with two apiece.

Linfield 7, PLU 6: Linfield combined three hits and a pair of PLU errors into three runs in the first inning, but the Lutes tied the game with three of their own in the bottom of the second. Hatlen led off with a double and pinch runner Tori Hamura eventually scored on Katie Lowery's single. Haley Harshaw followed with a single that scored pinch runner Katie Bologna, and Goings brought in the tying run with a fielder's choice bunt. The visitors regained the lead in the top of the fourth on a homer by Brosig, but the Lutes went on top 5-4 on Hatlen's two-run homer over the fence in center. Hagensen took the loss for PLU, dropping her season record to 13-5. In five innings she allowed six runs, though only three were earned, in seven hits. Leah Butters pitched the other two innings, giving up a run on three hits.