McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- With weather forcing the Lewis & Clark Pioneers to start their home opener at 37 miles from campus at Linfield's Roy Helser Field, the "home team" lost to the Pacific Lutheran Lutes, 9-1, on Saturday night.
The Lutes added seven of their nine runs in the final four innings. Lewis & Clark scored its only run when Matt Donovan scored from third base when Pacific Lutheran caught Sean Shepherd stealing during Connor Eggleston's at-bat in the first inning.
"Too many missed opportunities for us tonight," said head coach Matt Kosderka. "Austin Conniff was awesome in relief."
Conniff threw over four innings in relief of Eggleston, allowing four hits and two runs with three strikeouts. The Pios first-game start this season had been Robert Reaser.
"Being down two starting pitchers, we needed someone to give us quality innings and Austin really stepped up," said Kosderka.
Eggleston (0-1) allowed two runs on two hits while walking four Lutes.
Lewis & Clark left a pair of runners on base in the third and fifth innings. Kevin Jacobs hit a single in the third, but was caught stealing for the second out. Donovan singled and Chandler Vieira walked before Shepherd grounded out. In the fifth, Justin Katona hit a one-out single and stole second following the inning's second out. Donovan reached base again, this time on a walk, but was left when Vieira struck out.
In pinch-hit roles, Stephen Baker had his first career at-bat and Cole Petters had his second of the season in the ninth inning. Jeramy Albert and Zach Merzlak followed Conniff on the mound. Albert didn't allow a hit and struck out two, but walked three and gave up two runs, one of which was earned. Making his first appearance of the season, Merzlak allowed three runs on three hits with two strikeouts.
Connor Cantu led Pacific Lutheran (3-6, 1-0 NWC) with three hits and two RBI. Chad Gideon allowed three hits and one run in six innings to get the win. Andrew Curran and Nathan Anderson combined to allow one hit over the final three innings. The Lutes stranded 11 runners.
The Pioneers (1-11, 0-4 NWC) host Pacific Lutheran in a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m. at George Fox's Morse Athletic Fields.