Lutes go 3-1 in NWC-CCC Challenge, improve to 7-3
By Christian Dilworth, Sports Writer
The Lutes baseball team had a strong showing in the CCC-NWC (Cascade Collegiate Conference - Northwest Conference) Baseball Challenge last weekend in Oregon. In the four games they played in three days, the Lutes finished 3-1 on the weekend, amassing an impressive 7-3 overall record.
Linfield 3, PLU 1
Last Friday on a rainy night, Pacific Lutheran University faced a strong Linfield pitcher in Aaron Thomassen, who held them to only three hits over seven innings, ending Pacific Lutheran’s three-game winning streak. PLU junior ace Max Beatty was in strong command of the mound through four, before a broken double play allowed Linfield to tie the score at 1-1.
With one out and runners at the corners, Beatty fielded a grounder from Tim Wilson. Beatty dished it to junior shortstop Nicholas Hall who turned to find that Wilson had beaten the throw by a step, allowing the runner from third to score. After a stolen base by Wilson and a walk given to Corey VanDomelen, Nate McClellan drove a double into left field, driving two more runs.
After the Lutes scored one run in the second, Thomassen bore down, allowing only three base runners over the next five innings.
The Lutes almost found a rally in the ninth inning when sophomore outfielder Markus McClurkin hit a two-out double to the left field fence. This was stymied soon after Linfield relief pitcher Justin Huckins struck out his fourth PLU batter with the tying run on first.
PLU 5, OIT 4 (10 innings
On Saturday, PLU played the Oregon Institute of Technology where the teams went into extra innings before the Lutes pulled out a win in dramatic fashion.
Tied 4-4 going into the bottom of the 10th inning, senior infielder Jacob Olsufka started a rally after being hit by a pitch on the eighth pitch of the at bat.
Junior outfielder Dominick Courcy got his fourth hit of the game on a single to right-centerfield, allowing Olsufka to advance to third. Six pitches later, McClurkin hit a walk-off single to right-centerfield.
First-year Cory Nelson, sophomore AJ Konopaski and sophomore Chris Bishop each threw a scoreless inning in relief before handing it off to sophomore Jacob Otness who, in turn, threw yet another scoreless inning and picked up the win. The five PLU pitchers held the Owls to only eight hits.
PLU 8, Corban 1
Trevor Lubking had a strong outing against Corban allowing five hits, one run, a walk and 8 strikeouts through five innings. The bottom four hitters of PLU’s lineup combined for nine hits, seven runs and six RBI.
Sophomore Curtis Wildung, a catcher and first baseman, finished a single short of the cycle going 3 for 4 with two runs scored, driving in three.
PLU 3, Concordia 0
Pacific Lutheran scored three unearned runs in the top of the eighth to decide the pitcher’s duel between PLU’s Chris Bishop and Concordia’s Alex Boss.
Sophomore starting pitcher Bishop dominated the Concordia lineup through seven innings. He only gave up six hits and two walks while striking out a whopping 14 hitters. Konopaski picked up the save, striking out another four batters.
It was the Lutes’ third shutout of the young season.
With a record of 7-3, the Lutes open up their Northwest Conference schedule this weekend when it hosts Willamette in a three-game series.
The teams will play a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 11 a.m. and a single game on Sunday also beginning at 11 a.m.