This past Friday, April 19, the baseball team rallied to overcome a three-run deficit to win but fell twice on Saturday against Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). With WU’s season on the line, the Bearcats headed into the weekend series against PLU with the goal of winning the series (two out of three games would have secured a spot in the Northwest Conference (NWC)).
Senior Matt Steindorf, who threw for his 31st career win the previous weekend, pitched eight innings, on Friday and amassed four strikeouts and limited the Lutes to six hits. The game was relatively quiet in the first five innings, as the score remained 0-0. The Lutes struck first in the top of the sixth inning to take the lead 1-0. PLU tacked on two more in the top of the seventh before WU scored its first two runs of the game. Senior Cole Pursell smacked a two-run home run to right center, driving in senior Tyler Janitz, who reached first on a single. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Janitz hit a two-run single to the right side of the field to score first-year pinch runner, Jack Garver and junior Joey Faudskar. With the bases loaded after junior Justin Scanlon walked, Pursell walked to score sophomore Tyler Kurata, who walked earlier in the inning. The three-run inning was enough to overcome the deficit and secure the win, 5-3.
The Bearcats lost twice on Saturday, resulting in an early end to their season. WU lost 11-6 in the first game and 6-1 in the second. In the first game, PLU quickly took the lead, 4-0, at the top of the first inning. They then expanded the margin in the top of the third inning, scoring three runs to take a 7-0 lead. The Bearcats finally got on the board in the bottom of the third inning with sophomore Tyler Vandemark singling to start the inning. Janitz reached first with a single of his own. Bailey drove Vandemark in with a single to left field. Senior Brandon Natuzzi brought Janitz home later in the inning with a single that got through the left side of the field to make the score 7-2.
In the seventh inning, WU chipped away at PLU’s lead, scoring three runs to cut the deficit to three runs, 8-5. Janitz started the inning with a single and Bailey reached first base on a walk. Scanlon scored Janitz with a single and moved Bailey to third base. Pursell followed Scanlon’s hit with a single that brought home Bailey and Scanlon. PLU once again widened the margin, scoring three runs at the top of the eighth inning and ultimately to secure the win.
Faudskar led WU with three hits while Vandemark, Janitz, Bailey and Scanlon had two hits each. The Bearcats outhit the Lutes, 15-14, but were simply outscored at the end of the day.
In the final game of the series, the Bearcats scored once in the bottom of the second inning and were shut down for the remainder of the game as PLU took the win, 6-1. Sophomore Kyle Underwood hit a single to center field that brought home senior Kyle Paguio, who walked earlier in the inning to tie the game at 1-1. Janitz singled in the bottom of the fifth, while Paguio and Faudskar singled in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Lutes scored three runs in the top of the sixth and two in the top of the ninth, and amassed nine hits in their win.
The baseball team will be having their senior night next Friday, May 3 at it’s home field against George Fox. The senior class consists of Connor Bailey, Nolan Boggini, Nathan Gilman, Harbour Harrison, Tyler Janitz, Brendan Natuzzi, Brandon Nelson, Kyle Paguio, Matt Steindorf, Sam Hudd and Cole Pursell.