Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com
ANTHEM, Ariz. – After a pair of one-sided games on day one of the Arizona Desert Classic, the Whittier College baseball team came up just short in a 5-4 loss to Pacific Lutheran University Saturday.
The Lutes drew first blood, scoring a pair in the 1st off of senior Curtis Martin (Honolulu, HI), the third consecutive game where an opponent has tallied runs in the opening frame. PLU would add another before the Poets could muster a threat, but a 4th inning rally fell short to keep Whittier off the board.
Lone runs in the bottom of the 4th and 5th gave the Lutes a 5-0 advantage, and the outlook was bleak as the Poets came to bat in the top of the 7th. Yet despite the deficit, Whittier wasn't ready to quit. Junior Cody Martinez (Whittier, Calif.) ripped a leadoff single to right, followed by a knock from freshman JP Fasone (Englewood, CO). With two on and one out, freshman Andrew Ponce (Redwood City, Calif.) walked to load the bases, and two batters later junior Jonathan Whipple (Sandy, UT) lined a base hit to right-center to plate the first two Poets runs.
Senior Mitchell Peterson (La Mirada, Calif.) relieved Martin in the 6th and was impressive in his season debut. The lefty was able to fend off a number of PLU scoring opportunities to keep Whittier in the game.
On offense, the Poets carried their 7th inning momentum into the 8th. Freshman pinch hitter JJ Eduardo (Rockledge, FL) led off with a walk, and junior Stephen Zavala (Whittier, Calif.) found his stroke with a double to left-center. Another free pass loaded the bases, and Martinez was able to leg out a ground ball to score the runner from third. Patient hitting defined the rally, as freshman Mike San Angelo (Downey, Calif.) worked a two out walk with the bases loaded to force in Whittier's fourth run, but no further damage was done as a 1-2-3 9th rescued the Lutes as they held on to win 5-4.
The Poets will suit up for the final game of the Arizona Desert Classic tomorrow, Sunday, February 9 to face the defending NCAA DIII national champion Linfield College at 10:00 am. Tune in live on the Whittier College Sports Network.