Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team wrapped up its 2017 regular season with a split against crosstown rival University of Puget Sound on Saturday afternoon. After a dominant 12-2 mercy rule win in the opener, the Lutes were ousted by the Logger defense in their final game of the weekend, falling 3-2.
The Lutes (20-14, 16-12 Northwest Conference) came out scoring in the opening game, earning runs in each of the first four innings. The Lutes' biggest offensive plays of the game came on back-to-back homers from Gracen Malich and Becca Sorenson in the third, as well as a three-run shot from Nichole Schroeder that ended the game early in the sixth. The Lutes outhit the Loggers (13-26, 6-22 NWC) 15-5 on the way to a 12-2 win.
Anna Overland finished three-for-three at the plate while Becca Soresen was two-for-two. Marissa Miller tallied her ninth win of the season inside the circle, striking out three and allowing no earned runs in the complete game effort.
The Lutes opened the second game of their doubleheader with another homer, this time a two-run shot from Kathryn Hatlen in the first inning.
However, the Lute offense's momentum abruptly dissolved after seven innings of fury. The Loggers took their first lead of the day with a strong fourth inning, utilizing a pair of base hits and a groundout to bring in three runs and take the lead.
The Lutes only garnered four hits after the opening inning, ending the regular season on a sour note in the 3-2 setback.
Despite the tough finish, head coach Brandi Gordon Bennett was satisfied with what was otherwise a textbook weekend for the Lutes.
"We had a great first game and the other team out hit us in game two," Gordon Bennett said. "All in all, we had a good weekend at the plate."
The Lutes now set their sights on the NWC Tournament, which pits PLU against Linfield College when it kicks off on Friday at 2:30 p.m. in Spokane, Washington. The Lutes split their first four games with the Wildcats 2-2, and hope to come out on the winning end of their fifth encounter.
"We will work hard this week to prepare like we have all year," Gordon Bennett said. "All three teams that we may face are good teams and we know that we can compete with them. Ultimately we are excited for our team to have this opportunity."