Baseball Lutes Take Two to Stay in First
News Release Date:
Friday, April 2
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Pacific Lutheran retained its slim lead atop the Northwest Conference baseball standings with a 21-6 and 11-1 doubleheader sweep of Whitman College on a cold, windy and wet Friday afternoon at Borleske Stadium.
Pacific Lutheran heads to Saturday's noon finale of the three-game weekend series with records of 9-2 in the NWC and 18-6 overall. Whitman slipped to 3-11 in conference and 3-22 on the season.
In Friday's second game, which started under clearing skies and ended with heavy rain, Whitman freshman John Nortz hooked up in a pitcher's duel with Pacific Lutheran senior Robert Bleecker.
Nortz blanked the Lutes on two hits through the first four innings before the visitors scored the game's first run with two outs in the fifth. Pacific Lutheran added two runs in the sixth, one of them on Josh Takayoshi's first home run of the season (the inning's second run was unearned).
The Lutes tacked on single runs in the seventh and eighth inning before pulling away with six runs in the ninth.
Nortz faced two batters in that final frame, giving up Jaron Iwakami's two-run home run, before giving way to the bullpen.
Meanwhile, Bleecker tossed nine strong innings, scattering three hits and five walks while fanning 13 to notch his fifth win of the season.
Whitman threatened in the second with runners on the corners with just one out. After Eric Korsmo led off the inning with a double and took third base on a wild pitch, Jason Sease drew a base on balls. But Bleecker escaped unharmed when his infield turned an inning-ending doubleplay.
In the bottom of the sixth, with Whitman trailing 3-0, Mitch Hannoosh and Patrick Stauffer drew walks and advanced a base when Jay Richards dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Bleecker struck out the next hitter, but Korsmo walked to load the bases.
With Blaine Mercado, Whitman's RBI leader at bat, Hannoosh was cut down at the plate while trying to score on a wild pitch.
Bleecker gave up his third hit of the game, and lost his shutout, when sophomore Eric Tolleson smacked his fourth home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
The Lutes, who lead the NWC in hitting, took charge of the chilly, wind-blown opener with eight runs in the second inning. Takayoshi singled in two runs and Dan Johansen doubled home two more to power the outburst.
Takayoshi and teammates Brock Gates and Corey Moore finished game one with four hits each. Moore collected five RBI.
Starter Trey Watt threw the first six innings for the Lutes, giving up one run on five hits to post his sixth win of the season.
Whitman roughed up two Pacific Lutheran relievers for four runs in the seventh. Stauffer walked, Richards was hit by a pitch, Tolleson reached on an error and Korsmo was hit by another pitch to force home the first run.
Mercardo followed with a two-run double down the left-field line, and Joe Rodhouse knocked in the fourth run with a ground-out.
Freshman Justin Weeks doubled and later scored Whitman's first run in the fifth inning. Sease led Whitman's game-one offense with two hits.
- 30 -CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org