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April 25, 2010

PLU First Game Rally Leads to Sweep of UPS

PARKLAND - A three-run seventh inning rally led to a 4-3 win in the opening game and also provided momentum in a 5-1 nightcap victory as Pacific Lutheran took two Northwest Conference softball decisions from the Puget Sound Loggers on Sunday afternoon.

In taking three of four games from the Loggers in the weekend series, the Lutes improved their overall record to 22-14 and their conference mark to 16-10. PLU finishes its season tomorrow afternoon when it plays a pair of NWC games at Willamette. Those games were rescheduled after being rained out on April 2. With the defeats, Puget Sound wraps up its 2010 campaign with a 13-27 overall record and an 11-17 mark in conference action.

The visiting Loggers were within three outs of taking Sunday's opener before the Lutes rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Lutes had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on Stacey Hagensen's eighth home run of the season, but the Loggers tallied three runs, only one of which was earned, in the top of the fifth. With Alex Usher on third and two outs, Carolyn Moore hit a single to make it 1-1. Megan Janes reached on an error on what should have been the third out, and Christina Demuelenaere made the Lutes pay with a two-run double.

Puget Sound's Auriel Sperberg cruised through five innings, allowing only three hits while walking two and fanning three, but she came out in the sixth in favor of Aryn Grause. The Lutes would have scored a run in that inning had not Moore made an incredible diving catch on pinch hitter Lauren Watson's line drive to center.

PLU did get to Grause in the seventh, however, scoring the three runs on four hits and one Loggers error. Glenelle Nitta and Haley Harshaw started the inning with consecutive singles, but Nitta was cut down at third on Kaely Cuthill's ground ball. Pinch hitter Montessa Califano drove a single through the middle to score Harshaw, and both Cuthill and Califano advanced a base when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Amber Roberts then ended it with a two-run single through the middle. Roberts had a pair of singles and was PLU's only player with more than one hit.

Puget Sound had eight hits in the game, including three by Moore and two by Demuelenaere, but Ally VanSchoorl went the seven-inning distance to improve her record to 5-0. She walked two batters and struck out six.

In the second game, PLU rode the strong pitching of Ramona Lorton. She allowed one run on only four hits while walking three and striking out eight. In improving her season record to 10-6, she threw her seventh complete game of the season.

The Lutes scored twice in the second to give Lorton all the support she needed. Califano led off the inning with a double and she came in on Beth Haahr's double. Roberts drove in Haahr with a base hit, and then stole second base. It was Roberts' 33rd steal of the season, breaking the school record of 32 set by Sheree Deskin in 1998.

PLU added a run in the third on three straight singles by Stacey Hagensen, Kaaren Hatlen and Lauren Watson, and it plated two more in the sixth on three hits, including Kaely Cuthill's RBI double. The final run scored on Haahr's perfect suicide squeeze bunt.

Puget Sound scored its only run in the seventh when Moore drilled a double to score pinch runner Bijou Felder, but Katy Appleby was easily thrown out at the plate trying to score on the hit.

The Lutes finished the game with 10 hits, including two each by Hagensen, Hatlen and Califano.

- PLU -