Whitman bats rally too late in loss to PLU

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PARKLAND, Wash. — Whitman College fell to Pacific Lutheran, 4-1, Saturday despite mounting a late rally in the Northwest Conference baseball game.

The Missionaries rallied to load the bases with two outs in the top of the ninth before the Lutes escaped with the win.

It marked the second time in as many games that Whitman (9-6, 1-3 in conference) pieced together a ninth-inning threat.

The Missionaries lost to the University of Puget Sound on the same field Sunday, 1-3, after bringing the go-ahead run to the plate in their final at-bat.

“We keep putting ourselves in a spot where one hitter can change a game for us,” Whitman coach Sean Kinney said. “But we need to do a better job in the early innings.”

The Missionaries put early pressure on PLU’s pitchers, but to no avail. Whitman had base runners at first and second with no outs in the top of the first and had runners at the corners, no outs, in the top of the second, yet found itself trailing 2-0 entering the third.

“We came out and swung the bats real well,” Kinney said. “We had a couple great (at-bats). I really thought we had an opportunity in the first and second.

Kyle Moyes was hit by a pitch leading off the top of the ninth for Whitman, which by then trailed 4-0. Moyes was still at first two outs later when Maclean Harned legged out an infield single.

Kyle Buckham knocked home Moyes with a base hit to left, and Jimmy Madden walked to load the bases, but Connor Young flew out to center to end the rally.

Whitman pitchers Sterling Spilinek and Will Thompson each pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Brett Lambert, who struck out seven and gave up three earned runs.

“Our pitchers have really stepped up, especially over the last couple weekends,” Kinney said. “They have really been keeping the ball down. Brett kept them off balance. Sterling and Will also both did a really good job coming in with runners on base. I have a lot of confidence putting them in tough situations.”

Whitman has allowed four runs or fewer in four of its last seven games, and six runs or fewer in each of its last seven games.

The Missionaries had seven hits and six walks against the Lutes.

Saturday’s contest was the first game of a scheduled doubleheader, but game two was postponed by rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader here today.

The first game begins at noon.

Pacific Lutheran 4, Whitman 1

Whitman 000 000 001 — 1 7 1

PLU 110 020 00X — 4 11 0

Lambert, Spilinek (5), Thompson (7) and Harned. Mahlum, Otness (8), Konopaski (9) and Wildung.

HR — none.

Hits — Whitman: Buckham 2, Cohen, Moyes, Heywood, Konolige, Harned. PLU: Courcy, Trushinksy, Nilson, Pearson 2, Welch 3, Derouin.

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