Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
AUBURN, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team's undefeated start to Northwest Conference play came to an end Saturday evening, as the Lutes dropped two games to George Fox University on the artificial turf at Auburn Mountainview High School. The Bruins took game one 9-4 before edging the Lutes 5-4 in the nightcap.
The Bruins (7-5, 3-3 NWC) offense broke free early in the weekend opener, scoring five runs in the first two innings. The Lutes (10-4, 6-2 NWC) managed to pull within three runs in the sixth inning when Elli Rassbach and Becca Sorensen each batted a run in, but the Bruins responded with three runs in the seventh, leading them to a 9-4 win.
The Lutes recovered well to open the second game. Samantha Simundson led the charge in the first inning, hitting a home run to send herself and Emily McConnell around the bases. Kathryn Hatlen sent Anna Overland home on a single, and Annalise Campbell walked to send another run home, putting the Lutes up 4-0.
However, the Bruins defense held the Lutes to just three hits from then on, and ultimately took the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a single and a fielder's choice. The Lutes left four runners stranded in the last two innings, and the Bruins took their second win of the day, 5-4.
"We had a tough day today, but we are going to have a goldfish's memory," head coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "Overall we didn't play like we have been up to this point."
The Lutes committed fewer errors than the Bruins on Saturday, but after several strong performances, the defense appeared much more human. They'll hope to return to form and split the weekend on Sunday.
"Tomorrow we will focus on the process and look to make adjustments sooner in the game, specifically at the plate," Gordon Bennett said. "Our defense has been really solid and today we had some defensive mistakes that hurt us, and we will look to clean those up and look a lot sharper all around."
The Lutes will get a chance at redemption tomorrow at noon, facing the Bruins in two more games at Auburn Mountainview High School.