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March 13, 2011

Doubleheader Sweep Moves PLU Into First Place Tie

PARKLAND - Stacey Hagensen picked up a pair of pitching wins on Sunday afternoon as Pacific Lutheran swept Pacific, 13-5 and 6-3, in Northwest Conference softball action at the PLU field.

With the wins, the Lutes improved to 9-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference, good for a first place tie with Linfield College. Pacific is now 11-6 overall and 7-5 in the NWC.

Hagensen, a junior from Bellevue, pitched 3 2/3 innings of the five-inning first game, and she also helped her own cause with a grand slam home run in the second inning. Hagensen pitched the first three innings, moved into right field, and then re-entered the pitching circle with one out in the fifth inning after Chelsey Chamberlain walloped a grand slam homer to make the score 13-5. Hagensen allowed a double and single, but got out of the inning without further damage as the Lutes won via the eight-run rule for the fourth time in their last six wins.

In the second game, Hagensen went the distance, allowing three earned runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out three. She improved her record to 7-1 this season while the Lutes were dealing Pacific's Rylee Parke her first loss against eight victories.

Game One: PLU 13, Pacific 5

The Lutes scored an unearned run in the first inning, only to see Ashley Billingsley hit a homer in the top of the second to make it 1-1. PLU then scored eight runs in the bottom of the second and four more runs in the third to put the game away.

In the second, Haley Harshaw and Kaely Cuthill sandwiched singles around a Pacific fielding error. With the bases loaded, Hagensen unloaded her fourth home run of the season over the center field fence. Kaaren Hatlen followed that with her second homer of the season to right center field. Lindsey Matsunaga chased home two more runs with a single, and she came in on Harshaw's bunt single.

Matsunaga and Harshaw had the big hits one inning later, Matsunaga driving in two runs with a single and Harshaw scoring two with a triple off the top of the fence in right field.

Pacific had one last rally in the top of the fifth. Singles by Lauren Tuey and Jenna Stevens and a walk to Stephanie Vanoudenhaegen loaded the bases for Chamberlain, whose sixth homer of the year was a majestic clout well over the left field fence.

PLU finished the game with 11 hits, including three by Harshaw and two each by Hagensen, Glenelle Nitta and Matsunaga. Both Hagensen and Matsunaga had four RBI and Harshaw added three.

In addition to her pitching victory and grand slam homer, Hagensen also took a home run away from Parke, reaching over the fence in right field and bringing the ball back.

Pacific had nine hits in the game, including two each from Billingsley, Parke and Tuey. Shannon Miller was the losing pitcher, allowing 13 runs, 10 earned, in just 2 2/3 innings.

Game Two: PLU 6, Pacific 3

The Lutes took the early lead, scoring single runs in both the first and second innings. In the first, Amanda Goings and Cuthill hit back-to-back singles and then advanced a base on a wild pitch. With two outs, Lowery and Nitta were hit by pitches, forcing in the first run. PLU made it 2-0 in the second with an unearned run when Goings reached on an error and scored on Cuthill's RBI single.

Pacific tied the game with two runs in the third inning. Vanoudenhaegen hit a single, stole second and third, and came in on Chamberlain's base hit. Stevens, who walked, scored on Billingsley's single.

PLU took a 5-2 lead in the fourth inning, making the most of two hits, a walk and a wild pitch to score three times. Matsunaga led off with a single and moved to third on Harshaw's double, and Ami Gran was walked to load the bases. Matsunaga scored on a wild pitch, Harshaw came in on a Goings ground out, and Gran tallied on Cuthill's sacrifice fly.

Both teams scored a run in the fifth inning, the Boxers on Chamberlain's sacrifice fly following a leadoff double by Becca Moen, and the Lutes on Goings' two-out, bases-loaded infield single.

Hagensen made the lead stand up, though the Boxers left three on bases in the top of the seventh inning. A pair of PLU errors and a walk loaded the sacks with two outs, but Harshaw turned Billingsley's sharp grounder to third base into a force out to finish the game.

PLU had nine hits in the game, including three by Cuthill and two each by Goings and Matsunaga, while Vanoudenhaegen and Billingsley both had a pair of Pacific's eight hits.

Pacific Lutheran, which has played all of its conference games at home, returns to NWC action at 1 p.m. next Saturday when it hosts the George Fox Bruins. That doubleheader was rescheduled from a Feb. 26 snow out.

- PLU -