Sioux Falls, SD
No. 23 Augustana College softball never stopped fighting in a 5-4 loss to Southeastern Oklahoma State in the Central Super Regional at Bowden Field on Saturday. Southeastern Oklahoma State (43-18) will represent the Central Region at the NCAA Championships in Salem, Va. next week.
Augustana finishes its season at 46-15, marking the fourth 40-plus win season in the last five seasons, all under the direction of Gretta Melsted. Augustana's lone senior Lindsay Spanton played the final game of her season this afternoon getting a big two-out double in the top of the seventh inning with two outs. Spanton finishes her career at Augustana ranking fifth all-time in doubles, seventh in RBI, first in walks and seventh in on-base percentage.
Freshman shortstop Sarah Kennedy had a big day for the Vikings going 3 for 4 with two solo home runs. Caitlin Nichol hit her 14th home run of the season finishing 1 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. Jordan Schaffer was 2 for 3 with two doubles and an RBI while Carly Peterson finished 2 for 4 with two singles.
Haley Strawn led Southeastern at the plate on the day going 3 for 4 with three singles. Laramie Beal picked up a big hit for the Storm, a two-RBI double in the bottom of the sixth giving her team a two-run lead heading into the final inning. Beal was 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run scored.
Shayna Milam picked up the victory for Southeastern for the second straight day tossing 1.2 innings and striking out two batters. Milam allowed one run on three hits after replacing Mindy McElroy who went 5.1 innings giving three runs on seven hits.
Carley Pickett tossed all six innings for Augustana and was tagged with the loss falling to 17-7 on the season. Pickett allowed five runs on 10 hits while striking out two and walking four.
Augustana jumped out to an early 1-0 advantage after Nichol led off the game with a solo home run down the left field line in the top of the first inning. Southeastern Oklahoma State's Jessica Simmons did the same for her team, leading off the bottom of the second with a solo home run to left field to tie the game at 1-1.
The two teams then played three innings of scoreless softball, in which Southeastern left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth and Augustana did the same in the top of the fifth.
Southeastern then went on to score two runs on four hits in the bottom of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead. With the bases loaded, Courtney Riddle walked to drive in a run and break the 1-1 tie before Ariana Jones singled on what appeared to be called dead after the batted ball hit the runner going from second to third, and Southeastern was able to score a run on the play to go in front 3-1.
Pickett then got Mindy McElroy to line into a double play to end the inning and the Vikings answered with two runs of their own in the top of the sixth inning to tie the game at 3-3.
Kennedy led off the inning with her first home run of the game, a shot to center field cutting Southeastern Oklahoma State's lead to one at 3-2. After Trautmann lined out sharply to the shortstop, Spanton was hit by a pitch followed by a single by Peterson putting runners on first and second. Pickett then singled to load the bases and Schaffer welcomed Milam with a double off the fence in right center field to score Spanton and tie the game at 3-3.
Southeastern had another answer for the Vikings in the bottom of the sixth getting a two-out two-RBI double by Beal to drive in two runs giving her team a 5-3 lead.
Milam recorded two quick outs in the top of the seventh inning putting the Vikings up against their final out trailing by two runs but Kennedy kept the inning alive with her second home run of the game cutting the lead to 5-4 with two outs in the seventh.
Trautmann then walked on five pitches and Spanton followed with a double moving Emily Heinz, who pinch ran for Trautmann, up to third base. Milam picked up a strikeout for the third out of the inning dashing Augustana's comeback hopes and ending the Vikings' season.
Augustana made its 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance in school history in 2014, including its fifth straight regional appearance. Augustana has hosted an NCAA Super Regional Tournament three times since 2011.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College