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Lutes Beat George Fox, Stay in NWC Baseball Hunt

Markus McClurkin

PARKLAND - Pacific Lutheran scored six runs in the middle three innings and went on to defeat George Fox, 10-6, in a Northwest Conference baseball game played on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the PLU field.

As a result of take two of three games from George Fox, the Lutes improve to 20-11 overall and 12-6 in the conference, two games back of NWC leader Pacific and one back of Whitworth. The Bruins are now 16-18 overall and 12-9 in the conference.

Each time that the Lutes took the lead the Bruins battled back to tie it, that is until the home side scored two runs in the fifth and one more in the sixth. Senior Nathan Eisenhauer made those runs stand up as he allowed just three hits and no runs in relief of PLU starter Chris Bishop. Eisenhauer improved his season record to 5-1 with the victory. Jacob Otness closed out the final 1 1/3 innings, allowing one hit and no runs, the earn his second save of the season.

George Fox struck first, scoring twice after two were out in the first. Danny Clifford hit a double, Derek Dixon was hit by a pitch, and Derek Blankenship followed with a single to score Clifford. Dixon then scored on a PLU fielding error.

In the bottom of the inning the Lutes got those two back, plus one, on four hits. Corey Moore had a one-out single, moved up on a ground out and then scored on a single by Brock Gates. Curtis Wildung, who had a big day for the Lutes on Saturday, followed with a homer of the fence in right field.

The Bruins tacked on a run in the top of the second on two hits and a PLU error, but the Lutes scored three times in the bottom of the fourth to take a 6-3 lead. Taylor Wattenberg walked and Ethan Ottemiller hit a single, and both advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt by Nicholas Hall. Dominick Courcy followed with a RBI single, and Moore drove in the second run on a fielder's choice. After Moore stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error, he scored on Jaron Iwakami's base hit.

For the second time the Bruins battled back to tie the game, scoring three runs in the top of the sixth. With two outs and a runner on second, Timothy Williams hit a run-scoring single. After pinch hitter Zac Israel walked, bringing Eisenhauer into the game, Jared Chase drove in both runners with a double.

It was Pacific Lutheran's turn to respond, and they did with two runs in the fifth, one in the sixth and the final tally in the eighth.

With Wildung on third and Markus McClurkin on second base, a throwing error on Hall's ground ball brought in both runners in the fifth inning. McClurkin hit a sacrifice fly for the sixth inning run, and Hall drew a bases-loaded walk for the game's final run in the eighth.

PLU finished with 12 hits against four George Fox pitchers, with Gates getting three hits and Courcy and McClurkin getting two apiece. Gates scored three runs and Courcy and Moore both stole two bases for the Lutes.

George Fox had 10 hits against PLU's three hurlers, including three by Clifford and two for Blankenship. Starting pitcher Tom Zarosinski took the loss, allowing eight runs, six earned, on nine hits in five innings.

Pacific Lutheran returns to Northwest Conference action next weekend when it travels to Portland, Ore., to face Lewis & Clark College in a three-game series.

- PLU -