By Myles Bridgewater-Jackman
Sports Information Student Assistant
TACOMA, Wash. - The Lewis & Clark baseball team hit the road for their final road series of the season at Pacific Lutheran. The Lutes picked up wins in both games of the twinbill.
In a game featuring 14 extra base hits, including three home runs, Northwest Conference division leaders, Pacific Lutheran University, defeated Lewis & Clark baseball in the first contest of Saturday's double-header.
Things got started early as the Lutes tacked seven runs to the board in the first inning on a three-run home run and a pair of RBI doubles. Jacob Bockelie and Landon Packard reached base safely on a dropped fly ball and a single to right, respectively, setting the table for their cleanup hitter, Collin Nilson. Nilson smashed a ball over the left field fence, scoring the first three runs of the game. After a walk, Ben Welch doubled to right to drive in another run. Two more walks loaded the bases before Connor Cantu promptly cleared them on a double to left in his second at bat of the inning.
With seven runners already across the plate, the Pioneers made a pitching change going into the second inning. Keean Kondo retired the first two batters he faced but was never able to get his third out of the inning. The bases quickly loaded on a single, bunt and a walk, and once again, a Lute double cleared the bases to drive the score to 10-0. A triple to center off the bat of Curtis Wildung drove in another run, before he himself was driven in on Cantu's second hit of the game. The score stood at 12-0 at the end of the second.
Lewis & Clark started their comeback attempt in the top of the third when EJ Hand took advantage of a situation with runners at second and third. With two outs--in Lewis & Clark style--Hand slapped a single to right and drove in his teammates to pull the Pioneers within 10.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Lutes matched the Pios' two runs and scored an additional one for good measure. With the bases loaded and two outs, Lewis & Clark pitcher Kyle Tibbett looked to retire Connor Cantu, and the side. However, Tibbett threw a wild pitch allowing the runners to each advance 90 feet and score their 13th run of the game. Cantu, with his third hit of the day, recorded in his fifth and sixth RBIs, inflating the Pacific Lutheran lead to 13 runs.
Bradley Lezak decided to cut into the deficit in the biggest way possible in frame number four. With the bases loaded, and of course, two outs, Lezak cranked one to right, good for a grand slam, his first homerun of the year. The grand slam cut the deficit to nine but like before, the Lutes came right back to score some more runs.
Collin Nilson hit a two-run tater to center in the bottom of the inning and with two outs, Curtis Wildung singled through the right side, good for another RBI and Pacific Lutheran run.
Lewis & Clark started the top of the sixth inning with three straight singles by Ben Beck, Lezak and Eric Hyun to load the bases with nobody out. The next batter, EJ Hand, lifted a pop fly to center deep enough for Beck to tag up and come home to score. Back to back infield singles by Sean Shepherd and Michael Kinkenon plated another, to make the score 18-8. Two batters later, Connor Eggleston singled up the middle, tacking the third Pioneer run of the inning to the board.
Pacific Lutheran scored another in the sixth before Lewis & Clark added four more to their score in the seventh. Beck walked and Lezak singled before Huyn doubled to left and plated Beck. After a walk to Hand, Shepherd hit a sac fly to center, scoring Lezak. Kinkenon drove in two on his third hit of the day, a double to right center, to make the score 13-19.
A double by Welch in the seventh drove in the 20th Lute run and in the top of the eighth, Hyun and Hand each contributed to score runs 14 and 15 for the Pioneers and keep the deficit within five.
The two teams each scored a run in the final two half innings. The bottom of the eighth featured a foul out sac fly off the bat of Landon Packard and the top of the ninth was highlighted by a Ben Beck double to right center that advanced Tommy Massari three bases to score the final run of the game.
All in all, 37 runs crossed the plate and not a single pitcher who made an appearance was able to record a scoreless outing. Pacific Lutheran went on to win the second game of the doubleheader 22-2. With their two victories today, the Lutes can clinch the conference championship tomorrow with a victory, or a Linfield loss.
The Pioneers took an early lead in the second game, capturing a 2-0 lead in the first inning. A double to center field by Shepherd knocked in Lezak. Hyun came in to score moments later with a sacrifice fly to right field by Massari.
The Lutes responded by shutting down the Pioneers the rest of the game, while going on to score 22 runs.
The Pioneers final game of the series, as well as the season, starts at 12 noon tomorrow at Pacific Lutheran.