Lutes Edge Bearcats 7-6 and 2-0 in NWC Action

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

TACOMA, WASH. -- Pacific Lutheran University defeated Willamette University in both games of a doubleheader, 7-6 and 2-0, on Sunday, March 22 at PLU Field. The Lutes triumphed with offense in the final inning of the first game, then won a pitcher's duel in the second game.

PLU advanced to 14-5 on the season, 8-2 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette dropped to 5-11 overall, 3-7 in the NWC.

The second game featured excellent pitching from starters Scott Wall of PLU and Blake Paisley (Fr., RHP, Saratoga, CA/Saratoga HS) of Willamette. They limited each team to two hits and gave up a combined nine base runners. WU earned two singles, walked twice and reached base once on a fielding error. The Lutes also had two singles, plus two walks.

Pacific Lutheran scored once in the second inning and once in the fourth. Brandon Sales walked with two outs in the second. He stole second base and scored on a single to center field by Matt Akridge.

Jordan Post walked for PLU to open the fourth inning. He moved to second on a wild pitch and reached third on a ground out by Geoff Gabler. Ryan Aratani also grounded out, but Sales provided an infield single to score Post.

Michael Dearborn (So., 1B, Solana Beach, CA/Torrey Pines HS) achieved WU's first hit on a single through the left side with two outs in the first inning. Jack McGee (Sr., 1B/3B, Hillsborough, CA/St. Ignatius HS) registered an infield hit with one out in the fourth inning.

McGee advanced to second base on a wild pitch. The Lutes caught a fly ball in right field and a line drive in center field to prevent him from scoring.

Wall struck out four batters and improved to 3-1. Paisley registered one strikeout and dropped to 1-3 on the season.

In the opener, Willamette took advantage of a throwing error in the top of the seventh inning to take a 6-5 lead. The Lutes countered with three hits in the bottom of the inning to rally for the win.

WU trailed 5-4 entering the final inning, but Ellis Webster (Sr., 2B, Carlsbad, CA/San Dieguito Academy) walked with one out and Mitchell Rowan (Fr., RF, Cotati, CA/Rancho Cotate HS) doubled to put runners at second and third.

Dearborn grounded out. Max Stepan (So., C, Pueblo, CO/Pueblo County HS) struck out for what would have been the final out, but Gabler, the PLU catcher, dropped the ball, then threw wildly to first base. Webster and Rowan scored on the error to give the 'Cats a 6-5 lead.

Gabler grounded out to start the bottom of the seventh, but Aratani and Sales registered back-to-back singles. Akridge pinch-hit and was struck by a pitch to load the bases. Sammy Davis drove in Aratani and Sales with the tying and winning runs on a double down the right field line.

Earlier in the game, PLU build a 3-1 lead by scoring once in the first, second and fourth frames. WU scored in the third inning, after McGee walked and Dan Maslanik (Sr., C, Boulder, CO/Fairview HS) was hit by a pitch to start the stanza. Doug Bloom (So., SS, Salem, OR/South Salem HS) sent a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher and Webster drove in McGee with a ground out to second.

WU took a 4-3 lead with a trio of runs in the top of the fifth. McGee doubled to right field near the foul line to start the rally. Maslanik singled and Bloom doubled to produce the first furn. A throwing error brought in the second run, and Rowan used a single up the middle for an RBI on the third run.

The Lutes regained the lead at 5-4 with two runs in the bottom of the stanza. Post singled and later crossed the plate on a base hit by Sales. The second run was scored by Aratani on a wild pitch.

Paul DiPietro, who threw the final three innings for PLU, earned the win and moved to 1-0 on the season. Devin Grindy (So., RHP, Wasougal, WA/Camas HS) took the loss and fell to 1-3. He pitched a complete game for the Bearcats.

Josh Takayoshi was 4 for 4 in the first game for the Lutes. He scored once and earned two RBIs. Davis went 3 for 4 and also contributed a run and two RBIs. Aratani and Sales each provided two hits in four at bats. Takayoshi, Davis, Aratani and Ben Shively hit one double apiece.

For WU in the opener, Rowan was 2 for 4 with a run and an RBI. Bloom earned one hit in three at bats, while McGee and Maslanik each went 1 for 2. The 'Cats received doubles from Bloom, Rowan, Stepan and McGee.

Willamette is scheduled to host Whitworth University in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 28 at John Lewis Field, starting at 12 p.m. (PDT). WU may play earlier in the week if weather conditions allow the Bearcats and George Fox University to reschedule two games rained out on March 15.

Pacific Lutheran University 7
Willamette University 6
Pacific Lutheran University 2
Willamette University 0
Jack McGee was 2 for 5 during the doubleheader with a hit in each game and two runs scored in the opener.

Jack McGee was 2 for 5 during the doubleheader with a hit in each game and two runs scored in the opener.

Ellis Webster walked an later scored in the seventh inning of the first game.

Ellis Webster walked an later scored in the seventh inning of the first game.