Four-Run Ninth Inning Rally Lifts Lutes Past Bruins
LEWISTON, Idaho - Pacific Lutheran scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to rally past George Fox, 6-4, in Friday afternoon's opening game of the Inland Cellular Baseball Tournament at Lewis-Clark State College's Harris Field.
The Lutes took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the third when Corey Moore followed a Nicholas Hall single with a home run, his second of the season, down the right field line. The homer came against George Fox ace right-hander Brian Ranta.
The Bruins were stymied through five innings by PLU righty Max Beatty before tying the game in the sixth. Eric Gantenbein and Derek Aldrich singled to start the inning, but Derek Blankenship forced Gantenbein at third while trying to sacrifice. After a fly out sent Aldrich to third, Derek Dixon picked up his first collegiate hit with a double to left that scored both runners to tie the game 2-2.
In the seventh, the Bruins went ahead as Nate Hickok tripled off the wall in right and Sam Stahl singled to left to drive him home. Gantenbein greeted reliever Nic Delikat with a single that sent Stahl to third, and he then scored on Aldrich's sacrifice fly to center.
The Lutes rallied in the ninth inning against Bruins relief pitcher Jacob Brown. Zack Halverson led off with a single, Hall was hit by a pitch, and Moore walked to load the bases with none out. Jaron Iwakami singled to left to score pinch runner Jacob Olsufka, but Hall was nailed at the plate on a throw from Aldrich, with Moore and Iwakami going to third and second. Dan Johansen was intentionally walked, but Gates foiled the strategy with a sacrifice fly to center to tie the game at 4-4. Aratani, who last Sunday broke the PLU career records for hits and doubles, made it 6-4 with a two-run double to right field.
Ryan Frost took over on the mound for the Lutes in the ninth and gave up a lead-off single to Hickok, but got a 6-4-3 double play and a ground out to notch his fifth save. The winner was Scott McGallian, who picked up his first victory of the season when he got a pair of outs in the eighth in relief of Delikat.
Moore had a big game for the Lutes, going 4-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored, while both Gates and Halverson had a pair of PLU's 11 hits. Hickok and Gantenbein led a 12-hit George Fox attack with three hits each.
The Lutes, 19-18 this season, play Linfield College at 3 p.m. Saturday in their second of three tournament games.
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