Lutes sweep loggers to finish regular season

// PLU ready for conference tourney

The big question coming into the softball matchup between Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound last weekend was if the Lady Lutes would be overconfident against the struggling Lady Loggers. That question would be answered early, as PLU coasted to an early 5-0 lead, after two innings and would close out the Lady Lutes by a score of 8-0 in game one of the April 15 doubleheader at PLU Field.

“Stacey (Hagensen) was great, as she has been all season,” said PLU coach Erin Van Nostrand of her senior from Bellevue’s Newport High School.

Hagensen, who pitched three innings and allowed just three hits, while striking out three batters with no walks allowed, was happy with her teammates’ efforts. “We came out hard today’ and it showed both offensively and defensively.”

Leading 2-0 after one inning, the Lutes put the game away in the second inning. With two outs and runners at second and third, Lady Logger left fielder Megan Janes dropped a routine fly ball to give PLU two unearned runs and a 5-0 lead.

In game two, the Lady Lutes continued their domination both on the mound and at the plate with junior left hander Kaaren Hatlen and freshman right hander Leah Butters combining on a four-hit shutout for a 6-0 win to give them the sweep of the four-game series.

The Lutes wasted little time in getting on the board in the bottom of the first, as Hagensen drove in Amanda Goings on a fielder’s choice, and Katie Lowery singled to left to score both Hagensen and Hatlen to give PLU a 3-0 lead. They added on single runs in the second, fifth and sixth innings as the Lutes improved their overall record to 34-10, 24-4 in Northwest Conference play. The Lady Loggers fell to 3-31 overall and 3-25 in conference play.

Looking ahead to the conference tournament – where they will face Willamette on April 21 at 1:30 p.m. at Linfield College – Van Nostrand could not be happier with the season to date for the nation’s sixth-ranked team in Division III. “We expected to have a great year and we increased our team depth as the year went on.”

Another factor for the Lady Lutes was their middle infield combo of sophomore shortstop Lindsey Matsunaga and junior second baseman Glenelle Nitta.

“In my mind, they’re the best up-the-middle tandem in the nation and they’re only going to get better,” Van Nostrand said.

With nationals looming in the near future, Hagensen can only think great thoughts.

“We’ve really grown as team this year and I really like our chances down the road.”

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