Baseball closes out weekend with victory

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.

 

John Ekberg

Staff Writer

Women's tennis restarts streak at Scotford Center

The women’s tennis team got their winning streak back on track playing at home last weekend, defeating the University of Puget Sound on Saturday and Pacific Lutheran University on Sunday. Whitworth started the weekend off on Saturday with an 8-1 win against UPS at the Scotford Tennis Center. UPS only had five players competing due to injury, and thus had to forfeit one of their doubles and one of their singles matches.

“We played better singles today than we have in a long time, and that wasn’t even the ceiling of our singles play,” Coach Rachel Aldridge said. “We worked a lot on aggressive singles play in practice.”

The Bucs started off the day by splitting their two doubles matches and then ended strong by sweeping their singles matches 5-0. Senior Saryn Mooney started at the No. 2 spot and won her singles match in straight sets and also won her doubles match with Caylee Lamm 8-4.

“I think we did not know what to expect going into the singles matches, beside the fact that  the other team didn’t have a winning record,” Mooney said. “We knew it was important for us to stay mentally tough.”

Whitworth not only won all of its singles matches in straight sets but had some convincing performances with sophomore Bella Hoyos and senior Morgan McDivitt both winning their singles matches in dominant fashion. Junior Taylor Peña also won her singles match 6-1 in the first set and 6-2 in the second set.

The match was Peña’s first singles win of the season, as she has had some challenging competition starting at the number one spot all year.

“The nice part is just playing my game and feeling good while I’m playing. Being happy with how I played is a good feeling,” Peña said. “Keeping the ball deep, staying consistent, and using my legs to brace against [my opponent’s] ball were keys to my success.”

On Sunday, the Bucs had another dominant performance against PLU, coming out as 7-2 victors.

“It felt pretty good to come back out after not playing very well in doubles yesterday,” McDivitt said. “Today we came out with more energy and confidence.”

McDivitt won her doubles match with Hoyos 8-2,and had a blowout singles match, winning 6-2 in both sets. Whitworth won five of six singles matches and two out of the three doubles matches against PLU.

Every Pirate player who won her respective singles match did so in straight sets, and both of the doubles wins were controlled by the Bucs.

“I’m pretty confident just because as a team we have been working hard to improve,” Hoyos said. “Being able to play tough competitors on my team in practice helps with my confidence in matches.”

Hoyos kept her singles win streak alive Sunday, winning again in straight sets. Hoyos is the only Buc to remain undefeated in singles in Northwest Conference play and appears determined to keep rolling over opponents.

Peña and freshman Jennifer Adams also won their doubles match together 8-3, and won both of their respective singles matches in straight sets. Aldridge said she was pleased overall with her team’s work over the weekend.

“The players are fun, and I like that this is a collective team. Tennis is such an individual sport, but this is very much a team,” Aldridge said.

 

Kyle Cacoyannis

Staff Writer

Men's soccer suffers first loss of the season at home

Junior forward Karl Muelheims extended the Whitworth Pirates’ winning streak with the only goal of the game and his fifth of the season against the visiting Pacific Lutheran Lutes for a 1-0 victory on Saturday afternoon. However, Sunday’s game against previously second-ranked UPS, ended with the Pirates’ first loss of the season, 0-2. Compared to last year’s 4-1 win on Oct. 20 against the Lutes, this match proved to be a more difficult battle for the Pirates. The Bucs had to neutralize their opponents’ strengths to have more freedom to play, Head Coach Morgan Cathey said.

Though the Pirates only scored one goal, they were proud of their third shutout of the season, giving credit to the defense, assistant coach Bryan Olson said.

“Our overall team goal was to get a clean sheet: to not let them score,” Muelheims said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight before the game, that it’s going to test our will, that it’s going to test our desire.”

This clean sheet not only came from the defensive players’ uphill struggle by clearing the balls to the opposite side of the field, but also from sophomore Timmy Costa’s three saves for the Pirates.

“The focus was more on the defensive end where we thought that the offense would come naturally,” junior defender Spencer Wolfe said.

The Pirates’ offensive players outshot the Lutes 17-7 throughout the game, giving the Lutes fewer opportunities to tie or take the lead.

Muelheims’ unassisted goal from the left side of the net was scored 10 minutes into the second half when the ball was mostly played on the Whitworth offensive side.

“A lot of the things that happened in that goal was just desire. At halftime we just said that we needed some shots,” Muelheims said. “[Junior midfielder Sam Engle] tried to shoot it, but ended up popping up right to me and I kind of took a touch and it went in. We wanted it in the box more than they did.”

The Pirates took a hit on the offensive side of the ball for Sunday’s game as Muelheims was injured and senior forward Micheal Ramos was not able to play.

In addition, the Puget Sound Loggers had an early goal by senior forward Andrew White assisted by defender Sam Naatz less than 5 minutes into the first half on Sunday. As a result of the early goal for the Loggers, the Pirates had a much more difficult time maintaining control of the game.

“We didn’t come out defensively with a mindset [of] desire and passion that we did [Saturday],” Cathey said. “[Saturday] was such a good understanding of how we needed to defend, how we needed to be at our best to stop them, and [Sunday], some of our guys right from the start weren’t in the game defensively and these are defensive players.”

Senior midfielder Connor Laferriere doubled the lead for the Loggers with an unassisted goal in the 26th minute.

“The second one was just a poor pass in midfield right to their player, which didn’t even need to happen,” Cathey said. “The guys have to be sharper, the guys have to bring more and understand that they can’t let themselves get away with sleeping for just even a second, shutting off for even a second.”

The sign of a championship team is to not give anything to the opposite team for a long time, though the Pirates gave the Loggers a lot of chances in the first 15 minutes of the game, Cathey said.

“They defended like animals,” Cathey said.

Despite the score, the Pirates outshot the Loggers 19-9 and had more corner kicks 5-1.

“The great thing is now, hopefully the guys will play more freely, but also play with more desire, not feeling like they have to go undefeated the whole year, but more desire to defend and to battle with everything they have,” Cathey said.

The actions the Pirates showed in the first 20-25 minutes on the field did not represent how they prepared in practice, junior midfielder Samuel Jarrett said.

“We’re going to look at what went wrong this week at practice and look out for next week,” Jarrett said.

The Pirates dropped to 9-1-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the NWC.

Whitworth hosts Pacific Lutheran during Homecoming weekend this Saturday, Oct. 11 at 2:30 p.m.

 

Jessica Razanadrakoto

Staff Writer