by John Ekberg
Whitworth hit the road last weekend to Parkland, Washington for a three-game set with conference opponent Pacific Lutheran. The Bucs lost both games of the doubleheader on Friday before rebounding with a beat-down of the Lutes on Saturday afternoon.
On Thursday morning, the games were moved up to Friday and Saturday to avoid a rainy forecast for later in the weekend.
Coming into the weekend, the Lutes were ranked 19th overall, according to d3baseball.com’s rankings with a 12-5 record. The Pirates entered the weekend with a 10-6 record, having taken two of three games in both of their conference matchups the past two weekends.
The story for Whitworth to this point in the season has been the offense and its ability to put runs on the scoreboard, averaging just shy of nine runs per game. Last weekend against the Lutes, the Pirates put up a total of 12 runs in three games—including a game in which they were shut out.
In the Friday doubleheader, the Pirates managed to scratch across two runs in the first game—losing that game 4-2—and none in the second game—losing 2-0.
“Our defense kept us in both games, but our inability to capitalize and put up runs sealed our fate in those two losses,” senior infielder Nick Motsinger said.
The scoring drought appeared to be short-lived as the Bucs bounced back on Saturday for the final game of the series with 10 runs, propelling the Bucs to a 10-4 victory. Whitworth knocked the ball around the park on Saturday with 13 hits, five of which were doubles. Junior Jeremy Druffel clubbed a home run in the game: a two-run shot in the top of the first inning after the leadoff hitter, sophomore Dalton Carter, reached base on a walk.
Whitworth senior Cory Mack had his best outing of the season on the mound in the Saturday game, going for six and two-thirds innings while allowing four runs—only one of which was earned—and recording seven strikeouts.
“It’s nice to get back to old form. I’ve struggled this year so far, but I worked on my mechanics this week and it paid off for me this weekend,” Mack said.
The Whitworth pitching staff held the Lutes to only 10 runs over the course of the weekend, and only seven of those were earned runs. Especially strong for Whitworth were the efforts they received in relief.
Senior Tyler VonDracek pitched two and a third innings of relief in the first game of the weekend and didn’t allow a single hit or run. In the second game of the Friday doubleheader, senior Nick Scourey came on in relief and allowed only one run and three hits in three and two-thirds innings of work.
In the final game of the weekend, senior Carson Blumenthal earned his third save of the season after going two and one-third innings of no-hit baseball, racking up four strikeouts as well.
“We all threw really well this weekend. We haven’t thrown to our potential this year, but after this weekend I think we are on the right path,” Mack said.
The Pirates return to Merkel Field on Saturday and Sunday for a three-game set against the University of Puget Sound, with the first game set to start at noon on Saturday.