Baseball splits doubleheader against Nebraska Wesleyan


Photo courtesy of Photo Bureau

Kelby Johnson (‘21) throws to first base during a game against Hamline University on March 21.

The Luther men’s baseball team took on Nebraska Wesleyan University on Saturday, April 17, in a home doubleheader. The Norse lost the first game 12-11 but were able to win later in the afternoon, 10-4. The doubleheader was a part of a four-game series that started on Friday; the Norse split the overall series with the Prairie Wolves 2-2.

In the first game, Luther and Nebraska Wesleyan combined for a total of 26 hits and 23 runs, and were on the field for three hours and twenty minutes. For Luther, Joe McKibben (‘21) led the team with three hits and two RBIs. McKibben was one of six Norse players who finished the game with an RBI, along with Owen Vander Linden (‘21), Kelby Johnson (‘21), Kyle Schnobrich (‘21), Charlie Rubendall (‘23) and Noah Sebben (‘23).

However, the Prairie Wolves were kept in the game by Kaleb Nox, who batted for the cycle by hitting a single, a double, a triple and a home run in the same game. Nox had five RBIs during the first game, highlighted by his three-run home run in the fourth inning and a two-run triple in the seventh inning.

In the second game, Luther never trailed. The Norse finished with 17 hits and held Nebraska Wesleyan scoreless through the first three innings. Rubendall was a perfect 4-4 at the plate, hitting RBI doubles in both the first and sixth innings. Vander Linden and Schnobrich also added RBIs, as did Luke Plunkett (‘22). Norse pitcher Harry Blum (‘22) — returning from an injury he suffered this past summer — was credited with the win. Despite being limited to only 70 pitches, Blum was able to pitch through four innings, only allowing two runs and striking out six batters. 

Luther pitcher Ross Hingst (‘21) was happy that his team continually showed a sense of pride throughout the weekend, even when losing.

“We kept clawing and scratching whenever we got down,” Hingst said. “As a team, we are very good at bouncing back, being resilient and putting the nose to the grindstone when things start going south. 

Luther has been playing doubleheaders all season and currently sits second in the American Rivers Conference standings with a record of 17-7. The Norse only trail nationally ranked No. 23 Coe College in the standings. Johnson acknowledged that there are many challenges to the doubleheader format.

“[It’s hard to] be locked in for all four games throughout a doubleheader,” Johnson said. “As a team, we have to stay consistent and focus on what we can control.”

Luther will play their next doubleheaders against Wartburg College on April 24 and 25 at home. On both Saturday and Sunday, games will be played at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m, and can be live-streamed on the Luther athletics website.