Lutes edge Whitman in rubber match

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WALLA WALLA — Pacific Lutheran pitcher Trevor Lubking threw a three-hit shutout to blank Whitman, 1-0, here Sunday in the rubber match of the three-game series at Borleske Stadium.

On Saturday, PLU won the opener 9-5 before the Missionaries won the nightcap, 6-4.

On Sunday, Lubking struck out 11 in the stellar performance using a mix of fastballs and breaking pitches.

His team scratched out a single run in the top of the third to win.

“Lubking locates on the outside corner,” Whitman coach Sean Kinney said. “And when the umpire is giving him that low strike he is really going to be tough. The umpire was calling that low strike all day today, credit to Lubking for taking advantage of it. He had a good 12-6 curveball and he was really locating his fastball.”

The Lutes scored the only run of the game in the third as Nicholas Hall led off with a bloop single to center and Alec Beal followed with a good bunt.

Whitman pitcher Justin Weeks fielded the bunt and threw to first. The ball glanced off first baseman Peter Valentine’s glove for the error.

Beal stayed at first base and Hall made it to third on the error on Valentine.

Daniel Altchech lined out to Whitman shortstop Ozzy Braff for the first out, and the runners stayed put. Marcus McClurkin popped out to the second basemen, Peter Carmichael, for the second out.

Lutes cleanup hitter Curtis Wildung then walked on four pitches to load the bases.

And then a balk was called on Weeks, moving all the runners up one base and forced in a run.

“I didn’t see the balk,” Kinney said. “I was busy looking down at a scouting report. When I don’t see it, I rely on our player’s reaction and Weeks wasn’t arguing. He just nodded and accepted it. He is a senior, a competitor, but also honest about his mistakes.”

It was the only run in the pitcher’s duel between Lubking and Weeks.

Will Thompson came out of the pen for Weeks after 8 2/3 innings of work.

Thompson recorded the final out in the top of the ninth with two runners in scoring position. That gave Whitman one final chance in the bottom of the frame to tie or win.

But Whitman went rather quietly in the ninth, as Carmichael grounded out and Braff flew out to deep center. Kyle Moyles hit a line drive that was caught by diving Lutes centerfielder Dominick Courcy.

The Missionaries were only able to collect three hits in the game. Johnny Chow had an infield hit, Kyle Buckham bunted for a single and MacLean Harned knocked a clean single to right.

“It really hurt not having our two best hitters today,” Kinney said. “Our No. 3 and 4 hitters, Cameron Young and Aaron Cohen were out with concussions suffered in yesterday’s doubleheader. Young was hitting .500 for the season and Cohen .410.”

It is thought that Cohen and Young will be well enough to play this weekend in the three games at No. 15-ranked Linfield.

“Linfield has some pitching and hitting,” Kinney said. “They are tough. I don’t think that we are afraid of anybody. We are respectable of what they can do.”

The Missionaries now sit at 7-9 overall and 2-4 in Northwest Conference action.

Pacific Lutheran 1, Whitman 0

PLU 001 000 000 — 1 7 1

Whitman 000 000 000 — 0 3 2

Lubking and Wildung. Weeks, Thompson (9) and Harned.

HR — none.

Hits — PL: Beal 2, Altchech, Wildung, Oord, Hall 2; Whit: Buckham, Chow, Harned.

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