by Mak Karge, Asst. SID
PARKLAND, Wash. – Ben Wintringer had two game-winning runs batted in and Whitworth University took over sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference baseball standings with a sweep of two pitchers' duels at Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday afternoon. The Pirates won the opener 1-0 and the nightcap 2-1 to improve to 14-10 overall and 11-3 in the NWC. Whitworth has won 10 of its last 11 games and is now one game ahead of Pacific (Ore.) in the standings.
The Pirates and Lutes (16-10, 8-6) will conclude the series with a single game on Sunday at noon.
Game 1 – Whitworth 1, PLU 0
Austin Rice threw seven shutout innings to lead the Pirates to a victory in the series opener. Rice (3-1) won his third straight start by allowing only two hits and five walks. He struck out six Lutes. Connor Grytdal picked up his second save of the season with two innings of shutout, one-hit relief.
Whitworth scored the game's only run with a two out rally in the third inning. Nicholas Nerud and Jaxsen Sweum both singled to give the Pirates a pair of baserunners. Wintringer's single to center field drove in Nerud.
Justin Armbruester (3-1) was the hard-luck losing pitcher for PLU after allowing only one run on six hits in six innings. He struck out nine Pirates and walked one.
Game 2 – Whitworth 2, PLU 1
The Pirates won another pitchers' duel when Matthew Young tossed a complete-game, four-hitter.
Young (5-3) struck out nine PLU batters while giving up four hits and two walks. Saturday was Young's second complete game of the season.
The Lutes scored the first run of the game in the third inning on Tori Doten's RBI single.
The Pirates took the lead in the fifth. With one out Sweum singled to right to score Cody Simmons, who led off the inning with a single. Wintringer followed with sacrifice fly that drove in Casey Isa.
PLU starter Justin Tucker (4-4) suffered the loss after allowing two runs on only two hits and three walks in 4.1 innings.