Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
CLAREMONT, Calif. – Late offense proved to be the deciding factor for Pomona-Pitzer Colleges on Thursday as they got the better of the Pacific Lutheran University baseball team by a final score of 11-10.
The Lutes (0-1) brought their bats to their season lid-lifter, banging out 17 hits and plating 10 runs. The game was won in the late innings for the Sagehens (4-1), scoring six runs in their final two offensive innings, holding off the Lutes for the win.
The Lutes big inning was the fifth. The scoring started when Ben Welch reached on an error with the bases loaded as Tanner Williams came home to score. Landon Packard singled to center bringing in Kory VanderStaay. The Sagehens committed a throwing error, allowing Connor Cantu to score. Welch advanced to third as Packard scurried to second. Cole Johnson stepped to the plate and knocked a double into the left centerfield gap, scoring Welch and Packard, taking a 5-1 lead.
PLU surrendered the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning when they gave up three runs to the Sagehens. The Lutes answered in the top of the eighth, scoring three runs. It started when Welch brought home Austin Gormley on a sacrifice fly. Packard tripled to left center, scoring Casey Dawes on the play. Johnson hit his second double of the game to bring in Packard, giving the Lutes a 9-8 lead with an inning and a half left to play.
The Sagehens scored three more runs in their half of the eighth. The Lutes had a chance to tie in the ninth when Dawes poked a single into centerfield. Trying to score from second, the tying run was thrown out at the plate as the Sagehens would go on to win it.
"We played well offensively and defensively," said Head Coach Nolan Soete. "Team energy and effort was great today, we just didn't execute on the mound. We had plenty of opportunities to extend leads but failed to do so. We gave up seven free passes and that was really the difference today against a very good team. We're excited to get back to work on Saturday."
Packard led the Lutes offensively, going four-for-five. He was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. The second basemen drove in three runs, and scored two himself. Defensively he was involved with both double plays the Lutes turned.
"It felt great to get the season off to a nice start," Packard said. "There were tons of positives to take away from the game. A lot of guys swung it well. We showed great fight when we got down and a bunch of guys came off the bench and got the job done when called upon. We also played great defense."
The two teams will take a day off and meet again on Saturday to play a doubleheader.