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April 7, 2010

Weather Permitting, Lutes Will Play Six Games in Six Days

THIS WEEK: Pacific Lutheran (19-6 overall, 10-2 NWC) vs. Seattle University (3-21) at Bellevue's Bannerwood Park, Thursday, 4 p.m.; PLU hosts Whitworth (8-18, 5-7) in a doubleheader (2-9), Saturday, noon; PLU hosts Whitworth, Sunday, noon; PLU hosts Concordia (6-16) in a doubleheader, Tuesday, noon.

ABOUT THE REDHAWKS: Seattle University has struggled offensively, with a .242 team batting average, .310 team on base percentage and .340 team slugging percentage. The Redhawks have been out-hit by their opponents in every offensive category, including runs (221-104), hits (280-196), doubles (58-38), home runs (24-12) and walks (99-68). Cullen Hendrickson leads the team with a .361 batting average, a .451 on base percentage and a .541 slugging percentage. On the mound, Seattle has posted a 8.04 earned run average in 24 games, led by Max Whieldon's 3.58 ERA in 14 appearances.

ABOUT THE PIRATES: Whitworth ranks seventh in the Northwest Conference in offense with a .269 team batting average, fourth in pitching with a 6.91 team earned run average and eighth in fielding with a .947 fielding percentage. The Pirates boast a pair of the league's top hitters in Kyle Krustangel and Landon Scott. Krustangel ranks third in the NWC with a .427 batting average, to go with a team-leading six home runs. Scott's .400 average ranks eighth in the conference.

ABOUT THE CAVALIERS: Concordia has been out-performed by its opponents in several offensive categories: batting average (.315 to .253), on base percentage (.409 to .330), slugging percentage (.443 to .352), doubles (51 to 28), hits (251 to 188) and runs (169 to 94). Sean Myrom leads the team with 27 hits, 14 runs scored, six home runs, 22 runs batted in, 49 total bases and a .653 slugging percentage. Zac Manor (2.12 earned run average) and Jarrod Castrejon (3.46) anchor a pitching staff has an earned run average of 6.19.

ABOUT THE LUTES: Pacific Lutheran's recent offensive outburst has strengthened the Lutes' position atop the Northwest Conference team batting ranks (.376 team average). The Lutes' 4.15 team earned run average is tied for second in the conference with George Fox, behind only Linfield (3.61). PLU also ranks third in the league in team fielding percentage (.968). The Lutes boast six hitters among the NWC's top-15 in batting average: Ryan Aratani (4th, .416), Corey Moore (5th, .413), Dan Johansen (7th, .411), Brock Gates (12th, .391), Josh Takayoshi (13th, .389) and Sammy Davis (15th, .384). Brock Gates leads the team with seven home runs and is tied for the NWC lead with 37 runs batted in and 78 total bases. Trey Watt and Scott Wall rank first and fourth in the league in earned run average at 2.25 and 3.25.

LUTES SWEEP WHITMAN: 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 and finished the series sweep with a 23-1 win Saturday. The Lutes, who lead the NWC in hitting, took charge of the chilly, wind-blown opener with eight runs in the second inning. Josh Takayoshi singled in two runs and Johansen doubled home two more to power the outburst. PLU finished the first game with 23 hits, with Takayoshi and teammates Brock Gates and Corey Moore finishing game one with four hits each and Sammy Davis adding three more. 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 without a defeat. In Friday's second game, which started under clearing skies and ended with heavy rain, Pacific Lutheran senior Robert Bleecker tossed nine strong innings, scattering three hits and five walks while fanning 13 to notch his fifth win of the season. Bleecker gave up his third hit of the game, and lost his shutout, when Eric Tolleson smacked his fourth home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Ben Shively had three hits to lead PLU's 16-hit offense. Takayoshi, Moore, Jaron Iwakami, Dan Johansen, and Ryan Aratani all had a pair of hits, and both Iwakami and Moore drove in three runs in the game, giving Moore eight in the two games. Pacific Lutheran finished the three-game Sunday, pounding out 20 hits in a 23-1. The Lutes swung the sticks to the tune of eight runs in their first two at-bats and then broke the game open with four more runs in the fourth inning. Davis, Johansen and Takayoshi belted home runs, combined for eight of Pacific Lutheran's 20 hits and collected a total of 10 RBI. Davis had three hits and four RBI, Takayoshi collected three hits, three RBI and scored four runs, and Johansen had two hits and three runs driven in. Scott Wall got the pitching victory for the Lutes with five innings of four-hit ball. He fanned four and walked one in upping his record to 4-1.

LUTES SWEEP NWC WEEKLY HONORS: Pacific Lutheran took both NWC weekly honors this week, with Josh Takayoshi earning recognition as last week's top hitter and Robert Bleecker being named the conference's top pitcher of the week. Takayoshi had a .941 slugging percentage and a .579 on-base percentage in the three-game series at Whitman, racking up nine hits and eight RBI over the weekend. Bleecker allowed only one run (earned) on three hits and struck out 13 in a complete-game win over Whitman to improve his season record to 5-1.

NATIONAL RANKINGS: Pacific Lutheran moved up two spots to No. 17 in this week's American Baseball Coaches Association/Collegiate Baseball Division III Top 25 national poll. The Lutes received 101 total points. Defending national champion St. Thomas (Minn.), 15-1 this season, received all eight first-place votes, 240 points and is ranked No. 1. Chapman (Calif.), 20-4 this season, received 232 total points and is ranked second in this week's poll. PLU's sweep of Whitman didn't mean as much to the voters on the d3baseball.com national poll as the Lutes dropped from No. 25 to second in the "others receiving votes" category.

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