Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University softball team wrapped up its weekend series against Northwest Conference rival Pacific University on Sunday by dropping both ends of its doubleheader, falling 5-4 and 15-3.
The Lutes (8-10, 3-5 NWC) struck first in their Sunday opener in the third inning when Samantha Simundson sent Anna Overland home on an RBI single. The Boxers (11-3, 5-1 NWC) evened things up shortly after, but a double from Kennedy Robillard and a single from Corina Jones helped the Lutes regain the lead in the fourth at 3-1.
A double from the Boxers in the next inning evened the game once again, but Becca Sorensen batted in Elise Freund on a ground out in the bottom of the fifth to put the Lutes ahead 4-3. However, the Boxers would yet again tie the game and eventually take the lead on a pair of ground outs in the seventh. Three straight ground outs in the bottom of the seventh prevented the Lutes from evening the game, falling 5-4.
It was a game of missed opportunities for the Lutes who outhit the Boxers 14-5 but stranded 13 runners on base. Bailey Plumb and Anna Overland led the charge at the plate, both collecting three hits in the opener.
"We had a rough day today," head coach Brandi Gordon Bennett said. "We fought hard and then lost a close one in that first game, and I think that letdown carried over, especially with last night's game, and that allowed us to get beat in the second game."
The visiting Boxers kicked off the second game with a three-run first inning before adding to that with six more runs in the fifth. The Lutes responded in the bottom of the fifth with three runs on a double from Delaney Salter and two singles from Elise Freund and Kennedy Robillard. From there, the Boxers managed to score six more runs in the top of the sixth before the game was called at the end of the inning at 15-3.
"We need to let this one hurt a little bit, and we need to feel it enough so that we motivate ourselves to prevent this in the future," Gordon Bennett said. "We need to clean some things up defensively, and we left a lot of runners on base today as well, so our offense needs to push through when those times come."
The Lutes now face three straight weekends of doubleheaders on the road, with the first coming next week against Whitworth University in Spokane.
"I think that we can compete with any team in this conference on a physical level," Gordon Bennett said. "We just need to mentally turn that corner, and to do that we need to focus on finishing each play, cutting defensive innings short, and continuing to build on our overall game in practice."