Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
AUBURN, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team responded to a tough Saturday against George Fox University by earning a doubleheader split against the Bruins on Sunday afternoon in a Northwest Conference clash on the artificial turf at Auburn Mountainview High School. The Lutes dropped the opener 11-2 before rebounding with the 3-2 victory in the series finale. The split puts the Lutes in third place in the NWC standings, but they still hold the most conference victories with seven in 2017.
The Lutes (11-5, 7-3 NWC) took the first lead of game one on a Kathryn Hatlen single in the bottom of the first and held a 2-1 lead after three innings before PLU fell victim to an onslaught from the Bruins (8-6, 4-4 NWC) who scored 10 runs in three innings in the game shortened to six innings.
Kathryn Hatlen again opened the scoring in game two with another single, giving the Lutes the 1-0 lead after two innings of play. The Bruins then tied the game in the third and took the lead in the fifth. However, the Lutes then regained the lead on a two-run single from Becca Sorensen. Elli Rassbach then gave up just two hits in the final two innings to finish the weekend with a win. Rassbach collected six strikeouts on the day, including three coming in the final two innings.
"Felt good to get a win there at the end, we didn't see our best softball today by any means but it's always good finish well," head coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "We cleaned up a few things today and that payed off in the second game."
The Lute defense looked strong again in the final game of the weekend, but their three previous efforts are much more worrying, and the team will need to address that going forward.
"We talked a lot at the end of the day about taking care of the little things to be better moving forward," Gordon Bennett said. "Our pitching staff had better command of the zone in weeks past and George Fox capitalized on our walks and defensive mistakes this weekend."
Still, even in defeat, the Lutes learned a lot about their team this weekend, which they'll use to their advantage when they travel to meet Willamette University next weekend.
"The only good thing about taking a couple of losses is now you go back to work," Gordon Bennett said. "You're a little bit hungrier."