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March 28, 2012

LeTourneau Rally Earns Softball Split With Lutes

LONGVIEW, Texas - Pacific Lutheran pounded out a 13-4 victory in the opener, but host LeTourneau put together a four-run rally in the second game to earn a 9-8 win as the teams split a Wednesday doubleheader at LETU Softball Field.

With the split, the seventh-ranked Lutes are now 7-1 on their spring break trip through Texas and 23-7 overall. They conclude their grueling 10-game, six-day jaunt tomorrow with a doubleheader against 10th-ranked Texas-Tyler. LeTourneau is now 13-13 following today's games.

PLU seemed on its way to another Texas twinbill sweep, scoring six times in the top of the fifth inning of the second game to take an 8-5 lead. LeTourneau started its winning rally with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Two singles and a double accounted for the first two runs, and Ashley McPhail followed with a two-run homer against Stacey Hagensen, who had just entered the game for the second time in relief.

Hagensen, who split the six innings with starting pitcher Leah Butters, ended up taking the loss, ending a string of 11 consecutive victories and dropping her overall record to 12-4.

The Lutes had a scoring opportunity in the top of the seventh when Montessa Califano led off with a double, but she ended up being stranded there when the game ended on a ground out.

The second-game slugfest featured a total of 17 runs and 22 hits. Katie Lowery had three of PLU's 10 hits, while Amanda Goings, Hagensen and Califano all had two hits apiece. The Yellow Jackets spread out their 12 hits with every player in the lineup getting at least one.

Pacific Lutheran scored two runs in the top of the first but LeTourneau scored four on three singles, three walks and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning. The Yellow Jackets made it 5-2 on Anna Winters' two-out homer in the third, but the Lutes rallied for six runs on five hits, two errors and three steals - two by Goings - to gain an 8-5 advantage. Hagensen hit a run-scoring double and Lowery added a RBI single early in the inning, and Califano added two more runs with a double.

That set up LeTourneau's game-deciding rally in the sixth.

The first game ended by run-rule after five innings as PLU dominated, scoring three in the first inning, seven in the second and three more in the third. The Yellow Jackets scored their four runs over the final three innings.

Hagensen and Kaaren Hatlen had big games in the 3-4 spots in the lineup. Hagensen was 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two runs batted in, while Hatlen finished 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. The Lutes made the most of 10 hits, eight bases on balls and three LeTourneau errors.

Hatlen ended up with the pitching victory and improved her record to 8-1. She entered in the top of the third in relief of Hagensen with the game pretty much decided. Hagensen re-entered the circle in the bottom of the fifth and recorded the final two outs.

- PLU -