Friday, April 12, 2013

Lutes drop series to No. 2 Linfield

The baseball team salvages third game of series after getting swept Saturday

By Christian Dilworth, Sports Writer

Pacific Lutheran hosted Linfield last weekend, and Linfield demonstrated why they are ranked second in D-III baseball.
   
The Wildcats dominated both of Saturday’s games by a combined score of 22-10, racking up 29 hits in the process. Sunday, however, was a different story with a stellar pitching performance by sophomore Trevor Lubking.

Linfield 12, PLU 8


The series opener on Saturday began with Linfield pulling out the lumber and pounding the Lutes. The Wildcats held a 3-0 lead after four innings before scoring three runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. They led 12-0 before Pacific Lutheran finally managed a run in the seventh.
  
 PLU pitching ace, junior Max Beatty, took most of the beating, allowing nine runs on 13 hits through five innings. He walked two batters and struck out six before sophomore Chris Bishop took over in relief. Bishop allowed three runs on four hits and walks through four innings pitched.
   
Despite being down the entire game, the Lutes made it interesting in the bottom of the eighth, scoring seven runs and cutting the deficit from 11 to four. Two walks and a first-year Carson McCord’s single loaded the bases allowing outfielder Alec Beal, a junior, and Lubking, to draw run-scoring walks.
   
A wild pitch let the third Lute cross home plate in the inning and made way for another base-loading walk.
   
Sophomore Collin Nilson, a utility player, came through in the clutch, hitting a base-clearing double to left centerfield. Linfield relief pitcher Garett Speyer then retired the next three PLU batters ending the rally and, ultimately, the game.

Linfield 10, PLU 2

Aaron Thomassen followed in Chris Haddeland’s — Linfield starting pitcher of the first game — performance by allowing only one run on six hits in seven innings of work.
   
The Wildcats opened the batting clinic in the second inning with two runs and continued to add to their lead in each of the next five frames.
   
The Lutes couldn’t perform another rally as they did in the series-opener, scoring a run in the fourth on first-year Drew Oord’s double, Lubking’s single and walks to catcher Curtis Wildung, a sophomore, and sophomore AJ Konopaski,  a utility player.
   
They added another tally to the total in the eighth when infielder Clay Trushinsky, a sophomore, drove in Lubking on a double into right centerfield.

PLU 3, Linfield 1

Sunday turned out to be a different song and dance for the Lutes as Lubking limited the powerful Linfield bats to only six hits in a complete game effort in a 3-1 PLU win.
   
Lubking kept Linfield hitless through five innings and didn’t give up his first hit until two outs into the sixth. In the final frame he also pitched himself out of a two-out bases-loaded jam, enducing a flyout to left field.
   
When asked about Lubking’s performance, PLU Head Coach Geoff Loomis simply said, “Trevor proved today why he is one of the very best pitchers in the conference.”
   
While Lubking dominated the Wildcat lineup, his teammates were getting their bats to work by scoring a run in the second, third and fourth innings to get up to an early lead.
   
The first run came on a solo homerun over the right field fence by Wildung in the second inning. In the third inning, McCord’s speed allowed infielder Nicholas Hall, a junior, to score on the narrowly avoided double play. The final run for the Lutes came in the fourth when Beal, after drawing a walk, was driven in by a Trushinsky single over the head of the first baseman.
   
PLU couldn’t seem to score after the fourth, but Lubking rose to the occasion.
   
Linfield threatened Lubking throughout the matchup, but the lefty made the pitches when he needed to, to escape trouble.
   
The final Wildcat mischief came in the ninth inning when they loaded the bases with two outs and the conference’s RBI leader Jake Wylie (45 RBI) up to the plate. Lubking made quick work of him and sent him on his way with a towering fly ball to the open glove of PLU left fielder, Daniel Altchech.
   
“I had decided that it was Trevor’s game and he would only come out if the score was tied,” Loomis said of his decision to let Lubking finish the game. “There are times when you can throw the pitch count out the door and this was one of those performances.”
   
Lubking racked up a career-high 135 pitches, in addition to allowing only six hits and striking out nine.
   
He leads the nation in strikeouts with 76 and won NWC Pitcher of the Week honors.
   
Pacific Lutheran travels to Oregon to play George Fox in a three-game series this weekend starting tomorrow at noon. George Fox is tied with Linfield for first place.