FOREST GROVE – Pacific and Pacific Lutheran opened their final Northwest Conference baseball series of the season with a pair of polar opposite games Saturday with the teams splitting the twinbill at Chuck Bafaro Stadium.
Starters Max Beatty from PLU and Rob Dittrick from Pacific put together a brilliant pitcher's duel in the opener with both pitchers allowing just five hits. The Lutes used back-to-back two-out doubles in the fourth to score the game's only run as the Lutes prevailed 1-0.
In the nightcap, Pacific took a 6-2 lead into the top of the ninth, but PLU rallied to score four runs in the frame to send the contest into extra innings. The Boxers, however, won it on a bases loaded hit by pitch with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to take the 7-6 victory.
As a result of the split, Pacific Lutheran is now 22-14 overall and 12-11 in the NWC. Pacific is 15-22 overall, 11-12 in conference. The teams conclude the series, and the Northwest Conference season, with a single nine-inning game starting at noon on Sunday.
GAME ONE - PLU 1, Pacific 0
Pacific had a chance to score early in the first game, leading off the bottom of the first with a single and double, but Beatty struck out the next two batters before a fly out ended the threat.
Dittrick recorded two outs in the top of the fourth when Drew Oord popped a double down the left field line. Carson McCord followed with a double to left field that scored what became the winning run.
Pacific put together a two-out threat in the bottom of the seventh but Beatty ended it by coaxing a ground out.
Beatty improved to 7-4 on the year by allowing just five hits while striking out 12. McCord had two of PLU's five hits against Dittrick, who took the hard luck loss to fall to 3-5 for the season.
GAME TWO: Pacific 7, PLU 6 (10 innings)
The nightcap was shaping up to be another pitcher's duel until the Lutes opened up a two-run third inning. Clay Trishinsky led off with a walk, advanced to second on a error and went to third on Garrett Brown's sacrifice bunt. Jacob Olsufka followed with a single to right to score Trushinsky.
Olsufka then stole second, and the throw went into center field to allow Daniel Altchech to score from third. The contest would then be delayed for 40 minutes as Olsufka suffered an apparent elbow injury while completing the steal that required medical attention. He would not return to the game.
Pacific halved the PLU lead with a run in the fourth and looked to close the door on the Lutes with three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth.
The Lutes, however, were not done as they sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the ninth. Brown reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on Nicholas Hall's single and went to third on a Cory Nelson's fielder's choice. Curtis Wildung walked to load the bases and Brown scored the frame's first run on a wild pitch. Oord followed with a single to right that scored Nelson, and McCord drove in a pair to tie the game with his long single to right.
Pacific went down quietly in the ninth, PLU did the same in the 10th, and the Boxers appeared to be headed that way in the bottom of the 10th as reliever Jake Otness proceeded to strike out the first two Pacific batters. A hit batter, a single and a walk loaded the bases before Otness hit Trux French to bring in the winning run.
Otness was one of five pitchers to take the hill for the Lutes and with the loss is now 1-2 for the season. Hall, who came into the game in place of the injured Olsufka, was 3-for-3, while Oord finished 3-for-5.
(Special thanks to Pacific Sports Information Office.)