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March 27, 2011

Lutes Baseball Overcomes Rain Delays, Willamette

SALEM, Ore. - Pacific Lutheran overcame two Sunday afternoon rain delays and used the strength of a 20-hit offensive attack to defeat Willamette, 14-11, in the rubber match of the three-game Northwest Conference baseball series between the two teams at John Lewis Field.

The game, which started at 12:15 p.m., lasted 6 hours and 32 minutes, including 3 hours and 2 minutes of rain delays. Pacific Lutheran was leading 8-0 with one out in the top of the second inning when the first rain delay started at 12:55 p.m. The stoppage lasted 40 minutes before play resumed.

Willamette had two runners on base and one out in the bottom of the second when the second rain delay began at 1:43 p.m. The delay lasted 2 hours and 22 minutes, with the teams returning to action at 4:05 p.m. The game ended at 6:47 p.m.

After trailing 8-0, Willamette rallied, getting as close as 12-8 in the bottom of the sixth and 14-11 in the bottom of the eighth. The Bearcats had the bases loaded and the go-ahead run at the plate with two outs in the eighth, but PLU got out of the inning with a ground out.

First baseman Brock Gates of PLU was 5-for-6 with two home runs, three runs scored and six RBI for the Lutes. Ryan Aratani was 4-for-5 with two RBI, both Jaron Iwakami and Corey Moore had three hits and three runs scored, and Ryan Boyles had a pair of hits for the Lutes.

Pacific Lutheran needed all of that offense as the Bearcats collected 11 hits and scored eight runs against starting pitcher Scott Wall, who nevertheless improved his season record to 4-0. Ryan Frost, the final of three relief pitchers, earned his second save of the series, and the season, with 1 1/3 innings of hitless baseball.

Gates hit a three-run homer in the first to stake the Lutes to a 3-0 lead in the first, and an inning later Jacob Hoffman had a run-scoring single and both Corey Moore and Ryan Aratani had two-run base hits to make it 8-0.

A single, two walks and a Willamette error led to two PLU runs in the fourth, and Gate had a RBI base hit as part of a two-run fifth inning. Gates drove his second homer of the game, a two-run shot, in the seventh inning.

The Lutes, 9-10 overall and 5-4 in the conference, host Whitman this coming Saturday and Sunday in a three-game NWC series.

- PLU -