Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team continued to rampage through the Northwest Conference, remaining undefeated in league play by finishing up a weekend sweep against Lewis & Clark College. The Lutes yielded just two runs over the four-game series, earning 5-0 and 5-1 wins on Sunday and becoming the first team to reach six NWC wins.
The Lutes' (10-2, 6-0 NWC) offense came through with steady production in both showings Sunday afternoon. Anna Overland, Annalise Campbell, and Bailey Plumb all batted in runs in consecutive innings of the opening contest. This was all capped off with a Pioneer throwing error which allowed two more runs to score in the top of the fourth. Pitcher Marissa Miller took control from there, only allowing three hits and two walks to lead the way for a 5-0 shutout.
The second contest seemed like a near-repeat of the first. While the Pioneers (0-8, 0-4 NWC) took the first lead of the game with a pop fly in the third, the Lutes were quick to counter. Kathryn Hatlen drove Overland home, and then Nichole Schroeder scored on a passed ball in the fourth. Elli Rassbach further padded the lead with a three-run pinch hit home run in the sixth.
Rassbach only gave up three hits throughout the game, and was able to control the Pioneers from there to secure the win, striking out six in the complete game win.
"We feel good about how we are putting things together, and we are still learning each and every game and then utilizing that information the next time the opportunity presents itself," head coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "I'm really proud of our team, their hard work is showing itself."
While Gordon Bennett's Lutes are off to a hot start, she's keeping her team grounded and focused.
"We are taking one pitch, one inning, and one game at a time, and if we keep doing that we can stay this course," Gordon Bennett said. "This game doesn't reward those people concerned about the outcome, it rewards those that are patient and focused on the process."
The Lutes return home next weekend to face George Fox University, and they'll be counting on their stingy defense to lead the way.
"Our pitching staff is giving us a chance to win and doing their jobs very well. The thing I loved the most about the weekend is that lots of different people are stepping up in different situations," Gordon Bennett said. "We aren't expecting one person to do it all, we took care of business and it allowed a lot of players to get an opportunity to get some time on the field. Our whole team is winning ball games."