A late-inning breakdown proved disastrous for Cal Lutheran in the first game of the NAIA Area 1 baseball playoffs Thursday.
Cal Lutheran was tied with Hawaii Pacific going into the eighth inning but surrendered three runs in the final two innings to drop a 5-2 decision at the University of Portland's Farley Field.
With the score tied, 2-2, and one out in the eighth, CLU starter Mike Clark hit two batters. Reliever Mike Rooney entered and gave up a run-scoring double and run-scoring single. Rooney gave up another RBI double in the ninth, but Clark (6-3) got the loss.
"Clark goes 0-2 on two guys trying to bunt, and he hits both of them, and that's the game," CLU Coach Rich Hill said.
CLU (32-15) put two men on with two out in the ninth, but Hawaii Pacific (24-19) escaped when the next batter struck out. The Kingsmen scored a run in the second, when Leonard Matsumoto came home on a throwing error, and in the sixth, when Blake Babki scored Dave Leonhardt with a two-out single.
CLU will play Whitworth (19-18) of Spokane, Wash., a 4-0 loser to Lewis & Clark in another first-round game, today at 10 a.m. The Kingsmen must win four consecutive games to win the championship Saturday. After losing their first game in the District 3 playoffs last weekend, the Kingsmen rebounded to win the next four and the title.