Thursday, March 21, 2013

Softball team powers past Bruins

Lutes take three of four from formerly first-place George Fox

By Nathan Shoup, Sports Editor

The Bruins came to Tacoma sitting in first place in the Northwest Conference. The Lutes didn’t care.

Pacific Lutheran banged five homeruns in the first three games of the four-game series before dropping the fourth game of the series.

The Lutes (8-4, 11-7) now sit two games behind first-place Linfield. PLU plays four non-conference games in Texas Monday-Wednesday and will play the Wildcats next Saturday.

PLU 7, George Fox 2

After being held scoreless in the bottom of the first inning, the Lutes scored at least once each inning to put down the Bruins.

George Fox scored once in the top of the first inning before the Lutes scored single runs in the second and third inning, three runs in the fourth and single runs in the fifth and sixth inning.

Sophomore Kelsey Robinson improved her season record to 3-2, allowing two runs in a complete-game effort.

Senior Kaaran Hatlen hit a homerun in her one official at bat to lead off the second inning. She also walked twice, scored twice and drove in two runs.

PLU 9, George Fox 1, 5 innings

The Lutes used three Bruin errors to score six runs in the bottom of the first inning to put the game away early. The game lasted just less than an hour-and-a-half.

George Fox’s lone run came in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly.

Hatlen improved to 3-2 in the pitcher’s circle, allowing one run in a shortened complete-game.

Senior Montessa Califano, senior Amanda Hall and first-year Emily Streeter each chipped in two hits to the Lutes’ 10-hit performance.

Hall, Streeter and senior Haley Harshaw each hit round-trippers.

PLU 9, George Fox 1, 5 innings

PLU started Sunday the same way it finished Saturday, knocking off George Fox by the same score in a game that was shortened due to the mercy rule.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Califano started a four-run rally with a two-run single through the right side of the infield. Five PLU hits carried the rally.

The Lutes scored twice more in the third, once in the fourth and twice in the fifth to end the game by mercy rule.

Robinson picked up her second win of the weekend, allowing a single unearned run on five hits over five innings.

Hatlen smashed her second homerun of the weekend to lead off the third inning.

Harshaw paced the Lutes offensively going 2-3 while scoring twice and driving in one.

George Fox 9, PLU 8

Trailing 8-3 after four innings, the Lutes used a four-run fifth inning to pull within one but were unable to complete the comeback.

The Bruins added an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning on a solo homerun.

With a two-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, the Lutes nearly stole a conference win.

First-year Kelli Crawford was thrown out at the plate, from second, following a Hatlen single. It was the first out of the inning. Streeter, the next person up, closed the gap to one with an RBI single.

With runners on first and second, a couple of PLU strikeouts ended the rally.

Califano (3-4, three runs and two RBI) was the only Lute with multiple hits.