PARKLAND – Pacific Lutheran scored three runs in the first inning and hardly looked back as the Lutes clinched the fourth 30-win season in program history with a 5-1 Senior Day victory over George Fox Sunday afternoon at PLU Field.
With the win, Pacific Lutheran concluded the regular season with a 30-12 record. The Lutes are ranked 21st in the latest d3baseball.com national poll and No. 1 in the most recent NCAA Div. III West Region rankings. PLU reached 30 wins for the fourth time in team history, with all four 30-win seasons coming in the last nine years. The 2007 team set the team record with 35 wins, while the 2009 squad won 31 and the 2010 team won 30.
Collin Nilson put on a Senior Day show with his seventh home run of the season, finishing the day with two hits, three runs batted in and two runs scored. Landon Packard scored a run for the Lutes, while Jacob Clements drove in a run and reached base twice via walk. Cory Nelson pitched a gem in his first start since 2013 and only the second start of his PLU career, tossing eight innings of one-run ball while striking out eight and walking one. He improved to 5-2 this season, whileGarrett Brown tossed the final inning for the Lutes.
Taylor Dunn fell to 2-6 for George Fox after allowing five runs in only 4.1 innings. Michael Hirko and Tom Zarosinski pitched the final 3.2 innings for the Bruins, while Eli Skiles drove in George Fox's lone run of the day and finished with two hits.
Pacific Lutheran got on the board early with three runs in the bottom of the first. Curtis Wildung batted leadoff in his final home game for the Lutes and opened the inning with a walk. One out later, Landon Packard reached on a fielder's choice that advanced Wildung to second. Nilson singled up the middle to score Wildung from second. Tyler Thompson loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch, Ben Welchreached on an RBI infield single and Clements drew a bases-loaded walk to bring in PLU's third run of the inning.
George Fox cut the lead to two in the top of the fifth. Kadyn Nannini led off with a single, advanced to second on a bunt and scored on Skiles' single to center. The Lutes got that run back and added another in the bottom of the inning when Nilson crushed a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left for a two-run homer. That was more than Nelson would need, as the teams combined for two hits the rest of the way.
The game wrapped up the 2015 PLU Tournament and included a special dedication of the Kittilsby Press Box in honor of former PLU baseball coach, sports information director and athletic administrator Jim Kittilsby. The Lutes also honored seniors Nilson, Wildung, Kit Banko, Chris Bishop, Dominick Courcy, AJ Konopaski, Jake Otness and Bo Pearson prior to first pitch.