Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team suffered a pair of setbacks to Northwest Conference leaders Whitworth University on Saturday, falling 4-0 in the opener before a comeback bid fell short in game two in a 4-3 decision against the instate rivals.
The Lutes (16-12, 12-10 NWC) only mustered two hits in the opening game. Whitworth (29-5, 20-2 NWC) struck with an RBI single in the third before plating two more in the fifth. The visitors added an insurance run in the top of the seventh in the shutout win. PLU threatened in the third inning with runners on the corners before the first of two rain delays were called. The delay stifiled the Lute momentum, as the Pirates drew the final two outs after the delay to end the inning.
Marissa Miller allowed just two earned runs and struck out five in the complete game effort while Madi Perez yielded just two hits and two walks for the shutout win.
The Lutes responded in the second game, taking an early lead on a Jessica Wallace home run in the second inning. However, the Pirates were able to take the lead with two runs the next inning. PLU's deficit grew to three in the top of the sixth before Anna Overland responded with a homer to cut the lead back to one run. After holding the Pirates scoreless in the seventh, the Lutes failed to get a runner on base in the seventh, ultimately falling 4-3.
"We did not play our best softball today," Head Coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "We did not control the things that we could have today, and it cost us."
With only a few games remaining in their season, the Lutes need to bring extra intensity into their doubleheader on Sunday in order to stay in the hunt for the NWC Tournament.
"I think our players need to give everything they've got tomorrow," Gordon Bennett said. "We're a good team, and we played well, but we need to figure out how to be tougher tomorrow."
The Lutes take the field Sunday at noon to finish off the series against Whitworth.