Pacific Lutheran sweeps Whitman in weekend baseball series

Wind and rain hamper Friday's games, but pitching and defense really hurt Whitman.

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Out of position on a high ball to first from second baseman Jay Richards, Whitman first baseman Eric Tolleson comes down hard on the back of Pacific Lutheran's Ryan Aratani for the fifth-inning out.

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Pacific Lutheran's Josh Takayoshi collides with a running Brock Yates and crashes to the ground without the ball after the two were in hot pursuit of a short foul ball in the bottom of the fourth inning against Whitman Saturday.

WALLA WALLA - Pacific Lutheran showed its superiority in power, pitching and defense with a 21-6, 11-1, 23-1 Northwest Conference weekend baseball sweep of Whitman here Friday and Saturday at Borleske Stadium.

Friday's first game, a 21-6 Whitman loss, was over early thanks to an eight-run PLU second inning. The Lutes brought 13 batters to the plate, scoring runs off three doubles, five singles and two bases-on-balls.

The Missionaries put together their only offensive outburst of the game in the seventh inning, trailing 18-1, by scoring four runs off Lute reliever Nathan Shoup. Shoup retired no one, hit two Missionary batters with pitches, walked another, committed a throwing error and finally gave up a two-run double to Blaine Mercado.

Blaine Myers relieved Shoup and retired the next three Whitman batters in order.

PLU scored three more times, while Myers allowed only one more Whitman run over the next two innings for the three-inning save.

In the late game Friday, Whitman's pitching and defense showed up early as the Missionaries and Lutes played the first four innings to a scoreless tie.

Both pitchers were sharp, with Whitman's John Nortz allowing just three hits and PLU's Robert Bleecker one.

Nortz got into trouble in the fifth, giving up a double to Lute catcher Ethan Ottemiller with one out. Ottemiller advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a Jaron Iwakami line-drive single to straight-away left field.

Pacific Lutheran added to its lead in the sixth with a leadoff longball by Josh Takayoshi to the left of the left field 359-foot sign. Two batters later, center fielder Ryan Aratani doubled, advanced on an error and scored on a 3-4 fielder's choice.

Whitman threatened a comeback in the bottom of the sixth when Bleecker walked both Mitch Hannoosh and Stauffer to start the inning. Whitman coach Jared Holowaty elected to sacrifice bunt Jay Richards to push Hannoosh and Stauffer into scoring position for three-hole hitter Eric Tolleson. But Tolleson struck out and one batter later, Hannoosh was tagged out trying to score from third on a wild pitch.

"We wanted to put runs on the board and put pressure on them to make plays," Holowaty said. "(Bleecker) was lacking a little bit of control that inning, and we didn't capitalize on it. We didn't get the big hit. We didn't get the big hit all day."

PLU put up another run up in the seventh - on a monstrous Ben Shively drive that carried both left-field fences before landing in Ray Lane Field at DeSales High School - and again in the eighth courtesy of two doubles.

Nortz finally lost control in the ninth, giving up a double, home run and another double before being pulled for Jason Sease. Sease fared no better. He gave up another three runs while allowing Nortz' inherited runner to score.

Bleecker, meanwhile, pitched the ninth with hopes of a one-hit, 12-strikeout shutout. Whitman's Tolleson would have none of it, though, as he took a Bleecker fastball over the gate in left field and put Whitman on the board for its only run of the game.

Bleecker finished with a complete-game three-hitter, and PLU took the 11-1 win.

Saturday's series finale saw the home team get behind 8-0 after two innings. Both first-inning runs and three of the six second-inning runs came after two outs. On the afternoon, Whitman surrendered 12 runs after setting down two Lute batters.

PLU players blistered three balls over the left-field fence Saturday, including a Takayoshi shot that struck the top of a 40-foot tall fir tree 20 feet beyond the 359-foot sign in straight-away left.

The Missionaries have a week to lick their wounds before heading to Forest Grove for a three-game weekend series against Pacific.

Holowaty summed up the weekend: "When our pitching doesn't keep the ball down and our defense doesn't play well, we don't compete. It's like they say ‘pitching and defense'. When that goes (wrong) for us, we go with it."

"This should hurt," he said. "I hope it does, but we've got to get better and build for next weekend and not be beat up by this loss."

Friday's First Game

PLU 080 423 103 - 21 22 2

Whitman 000 010 410 - 6 9 6

Watt, Shoup (7), Myers (7) and Ottemiller, Halverson (6), Boyles (9); Tolleson, Grisdale (5) and Weeks.

HR - none.

Hits - PLU: Iwakami, Davis 3, Takayoshi 3, Johansen 3, Aratani 2, Gates 3, Moore 4, Ottemiller, Shively; Whitman: Stauffer, Richards, Tolleson, Mercado, Sease 2, Rodhouse, Weeks, Hannoosh.

Friday's Second Game

PLU 000 012 116 - 11 17 0

Whitman 000 000 001 - 1 3 3

Bleecker and Ottemiller; Nortz, Sease (9) and Korsmo.

HR - PLU: Takayoshi, Shively, Iwakami; Whitman: Tolleson.

Hits - PLU: Iwakami 2, Davis, Takayoshi 2, Johansen 2, Aratani 2, Gates, Moore 2, Ottemiller, Shively 3; Whitman: Korsmo, Tolleson, Mercado.

Saturday's Game

PLU 260 403 143 - 23 21 0

Whitman 000 000 001 - 1 8 4

Wall, Beatty (6), Eisenhauer (7), DiPietro (8), Frost (9) and Ottemiller, Shum (5); Mercado, Weeks (7), Settle-Winick (9) and Korsmo.

HR - PLU: Johansen, Davis, Takayoshi.

Hits - PLU: Iwakami, Davis 3, Takayoshi 3, Johansen 2, Aratani 2, Gates 2, Moore 2, Ottemiller 2, Shively 2, Olsufka, Shum; Whitman: Stauffer, Korsmo 2, Mercado, Sease 2, Weeks, Hannoosh.

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