SPOKANE, Wash. – Pacific Lutheran and Whitworth traded leads before the Lutes went ahead for the final time in the seventh inning to eliminate the Pirates with an 8-5 victory on Friday evening in the NCAA Division III West Regional at Avista Stadium.
PLU improved to 28-18 and plays Texas-Tyler in Friday's late game for a chance to meet Trinity in the championship round.
Whitworth's season came to an end with a 30-13 record. The win total is the second most in school history.
The Lutes jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning on RBI singles by Tyler Thompson, Landon Packard and Kory Vanderstay. PLU increased the lead to 4-0 in the top of the third on a sac fly by Cole Johnson.
But the Pirates rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Daniel Casanova walked and later scored when a throw got away at first base. Later in the inning Zach Thibault drew a bases loaded walk and Tyler Bailey followed with a two-run single to tie the game.
Jordan McGowan's RBI single in the bottom of the fourth gave Whitworth its first, and only, lead of the game.
PLU quickly tied the game in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Johnson. But the Lutes left the bases loaded.
Lief Hanson was effective in relief for PLU, earning the win with 3.2 innings of one-hit, shutout pitching. He improved to 1-1.
He got the win because the Lutes scored three runs in the seventh. Ben Welch delivered a two-out, two-run hit to cap the rally.
Garrett Brown, who pitched seven innings in relief on Thursday to earn a win, came on to finish the game for PLU and pick up his 11th save of the year. He went 1.2 innings and gave up only a single and a walk.
Ryan Kingma started on the mound for the Pirates, allowing four runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings. AJ Milyard suffered the loss in relief after giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits in 3.0 innings.
Joel Condreay went 2-4 in the game for Whitworth and finished the tournament 7-12.