SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - The No. 2 seed Augustana baseball team (41-8) rolled past No. 7 seed Wayne State (20-25) with a 10-0 shutout on Wednesday at Karras Park to open the NSIC tournament.
The NSIC tournament opening win for the Vikings marked their 41st win of the season to match the 2014 team (41-16) for the most wins in a single season in Augustana school history. Augustana also extended its school record for shutouts in a season after recording its 14th of the season on Wednesday.
Jacob Blank (8-0) tossed a gem to put the Vikings in the winner’s bracket of the NSIC tournament. Blank threw a career-best eight innings allowing no runs on three hits with one walk and seven strikeouts. Blank is now one strikeout and two wins away from tying the all-time school records in both categories.
The Augustana offense struck early and often as the Vikings put up at least one run in six of the first seven innings and eight of the nine Viking starters notched an RBI. The Vikings finished with 14 hits in the contest and had five extra base hits and six stolen bases.
The Vikings wasted no time getting on the board with a run in the first inning. Riley Johnson led the Viking first off with a walk and went on to steal second and advance to third on a throwing error. Johnson scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly from Sam Baier.
Augustana added a run in the second and two runs in the third. In the second, Lucas Wylie took over the team lead with his eighth home run of the season with a solo shot to right field. In the third, Ryan Nickel secured a RBI groundout and Wylie knocked in his second RBI of the game on a double to left center.
The Vikings really pushed the game open with a three run fifth inning and a two-run sixth. After the Wildcats made a pitching change, Ryan Menssen welcomed the new pitcher with a RBI single and Johnson laced a RBI double. Michael Svozil capped the inning with his eighth sacrifice fly of the year, giving Augustana a 7-0 lead. In the sixth, Lucas Barry notched a RBI groundout and JT Mix finished the inning with a RBI double to right center.
In the seventh, Baier tied the team lead with his eighth homer of the season to give the Vikings a 10-0 lead and to conclude the scoring for the game. Jonas Lovin tossed a scoreless ninth while striking out the side to preserve the Viking shutout.
Barth and Wylie led the offense with three hits apiece and Johnson and Menssen tallied two hits each. Wylie and Baier each had a home run and two RBI.
The Vikings play No. 3 seed St. Cloud State Thursday, May 10 at 4 p.m. at Sioux Falls Stadium.
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