Third inning sparks PLU baseball win over Missionaries

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TACOMA - Pacific Lutheran bunched four hits into the third inning, scoring three times, and rode that outburst to a 5-1 Northwest Conference baseball victory over Whitman College here Sunday afternoon.

The Lutes, who took two of three games from Whitman over the weekend, improved to 7-5 in the NWC and 11-11 overall.

A young Whitman team slipped to 3-12 in conference and 4-22 on the season.

After Pacific Lutheran rapped three doubles in plating three runs in the third, and then tacked on a fourth run in the fourth frame, Whitman pushed across its lone run in the top of the fifth.

Freshman Kyle Buckham doubled with one out and scored when first-year sophomore Chris Andrews singled up the middle.

Jay Richards, one of only two seniors on the Whitman roster, sent Andrews to third with a two-out double, but a strike-out ended the inning.

Whitman threatened again but came up empty in the eighth inning. With one out, freshman Casey Minnick singled to left field and moved up a base when senior Erik Korsmo drew a base on balls.

That ended the day for Pacific Lutheran starting pitcher Scott Wall, who had scattered six hits while walking two and striking out eight.

Reliever Ryan Frost shut the door on the Whitman eighth, getting two quick outs on a fly ball to right and a strike-out. Frost then retired Whitman in order in the ninth to nail down the victory for the Lutes.

Wall, a senior, got the pitching win, improving to 5-0 on the season.

Dakota Matherly, a freshman, started on the hill for Whitman and pitched into the fourth inning.

Three more freshman hurlers finished up for the Missionaries. The last two, Tristan Gavin and Aaron Cohen, both tossed two innings of no-hit ball.

"Our pitching staff did a good job of keeping us in the ballgame," Whitman coach Jared Holowaty said.

"Pacific Lutheran pitched well all weekend and Sunday was no different. We kept ourselves in striking distance and had a couple of chances late in the game but couldn't get that big hit.

"Our guys competed their tails off all weekend and I am extremely proud of them."

Whitman is back at home next weekend to host a three-game NWC series against Pacific University.

Next Saturday's twinbill against the Boxers starts at noon with a single game to follow at noon on Sunday.

PLU 5, Whitman 1

Whitman 000 010 000 - 1 6 1

PLU 003 110 00x - 5 9 1

Matherly, Thomas (4), Gavin (5), Cohen (7) and Madden. Wall, Frost (8) and Boyles, Halverson.

HR - none.

Hits - Whit: Richards, Minnick, Korsmo, Cohen, Buckham, Andrews. PLU: Hoffman, Moore, Gates, Aratani 2, Frost, Pearson 2, Johansen.

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