Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team had a daunting task of hosting Division II Central Washington University on Wednesday afternoon, coming away with a doubleheader split in the non-conference showdown. The Lutes managed to take the first game 3-1 before their visitors responded to take the second game 11-2.
The Wildcats (7-4) scored the first run of the afternoon on a fielder's choice in the top of the third. However, the Lutes (6-2) were immediately able to answer with two runs in the bottom of the inning after Samantha Simundson hit a home run, scoring Emily McConnell who led off the inning with an infield single.
Despite hitting the ball well, the Wildcats were unable to create any more offense for the rest of the game, and the Lutes added a run in the sixth inning on an error to preserve the 3-1 win.
Marissa Miller claimed her fourth victory in as many starts inside the circle, yielding just one earned run and striking out three in the complete game effort.
After a strong opening defensive performance, the Lutes struggled to tame the Wildcats in the second contest. The Wildcats opened with three runs in the first inning, and were only held scoreless in the fifth.
Meanwhile, a homer from Jessica Wallace in the second and an error in the third allowed Emily McConnell to score provide the Lutes with their only offense of the game. The Wildcats scored another three runs in the sixth inning to end the night early and earn the 11-2 victory.
"I think it's good to walk away with a split, we played up to their level but their hitters were on fire in that second game," Head Coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "We learned something from that game, and now we're going to utilize what we learned going forward."
While the Lutes are happy with the split, they still found some issues that they need to tweak in the next few days to be ready for this weekend.
"We need to start taking advantage of pitches earlier in the count," Gordon Bennett said. "We were mostly errorless though, and our defense has been pretty solid all year so far."
The Lutes will hit the road this weekend for two doubleheaders against Lewis & Clark College on Saturday and Sunday as they try to push their undefeated start to Northwest Conference play even further.