SPOKANE, Wash. – Visiting Pacific Lutheran pounded out 25 runs and 41 hits to sweep a Northwest Conference baseball doubleheader at Whitworth on Saturday afternoon. Landon Packard went 6-10 at the plate with seven RBIs and five runs scored to lead the Lutes, who won the opener 15-6 and then took the nightcap 10-3.
PLU improved to 14-3 overall and 12-2 in the NWC, holding onto first place in the league standings. The Pirates, playing their first home games of 2017, fell to 9-8, 3-7. The teams will complete the series with another doubleheader at Merkel Field on Sunday, but only the first game on Sunday will count toward conference standings.
Game 1 – PLU 15, Whitworth 6
The Lutes jumped out to a 6-0 lead after two innings and eventually led 15-2 through seven to take the series opener.
Packard's three-run homer to left field, his first home run of the season, highlighted a four-run second inning for PLU. Packard had also doubled and scored in the first inning for the Lutes. PLU added three more runs in the fourth inning to chase Whitworth starting pitcher Hugh Smith. DH Jacob Bockelie had a two run double in that rally. The Lutes broke the game wide open with four more runs in the sixth inning.
Nate Lamberty singled in two runs for Whitworth in the second inning to briefly cut the margin to 6-2. The Pirates added a run in the eighth on Jordan McGowan's RBI double and then scored three in the bottom of the ninth. Lamberty added an RBI in the ninth, while Garrett Hughes and Jacob Yamane each had RBI singles.
Jacob Gleichman pitched seven innings to improve to 4-1 on the season for PLU. He allowed two runs on six hits with five strikeouts. Packard finished the game 3-5 with four RBIs and four runs scored. Bockelie was 3-4 with four RBIs. First baseman Cole Johnson was 3-5 with four RBIs. The Lutes finished the game with 21 hits, including nine doubles.
Smith allowed seven runs on 10 hits in 3.0 innings to fall to 2-3 on the season for the Pirates. Tim Bever gave up six runs in two innings of relief and Collin Anderson pitched three innings while allowing two runs. Brad Tieftenthaler threw the ninth. Hughes was the only Whitworth player with more than one hit in the game.
Game 2 – PLU 10, Whitworth 3
Leadoff hitter Ben Welch went 4-6, homered, drove in four runs and scored twice to lead PLU in the second game. PLU jumped to a 7-0 lead through six innings.
Packard's two-run homer in the third inning gave the Lutes a 3-0 lead. Welch added a two-run shot in the fourth to increase PLU's lead to 5-0. The Lutes added single runs in the fifth and sixth, opening a 7-0 margin.
Whitworth got three runs back in the bottom of the sixth inning on Matthew Nelson's sixth home run of the season. He also now has 24 RBIs this year. The Pirates looked like they might continue to rally in the seventh inning, getting two runners on base. But PLU reliever Lee Larson struck out McGowan to end the inning.
The Lutes put the game away with three more runs in the top of the ninth. Welch added an RBI double and eventually scored on Packard's double.
Freshman hurler Chad Gideon allowed three runs on four hits in six innings to improve to 4-0 this season for PLU. Larson earned his second save with 2.2 innings of shutout relief. Packard finished game two 3-5 at the plate with three more RBIs. PLU had 19 hits in game two, including six more doubles.
Ryan Kingma (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season on the mound after allowing six runs on 12 hits in 4.2 innings. Matthew Pulliam worked the final 4.1 innings in relief, giving up four runs on seven hits. Nelson finished the game 3-3 at the plate with three RBIs. Daniel Casanova went 2-5 for the Bucs.