MAGNOLIA, Ark. – Augustana starting pitcher Ashley Mickschl helped her own cause with a no-doubt solo homer to open the scoring in Friday’s NCAA Central Regional at Southern Arkansas, but the host Muleriders plated four unanswered runs to secure the victory and advance to the finals on Saturday with a 4-1 win.
The No. 3 seed Vikings fall to 42-14, and play either No. 6 seed Washburn or No. 7 seed Minnesota State on Friday at 6 p.m. in an elimination game. Southern Arkansas moves to 54-9, and plays the winner of the 6 p.m. game on Saturday at 1 p.m. in the finals.
Scoreless through two innings, Ashley Mickschl blasted a no-doubt home run over the fence in left to open the scoring. Her eighth homer of the season staked the Vikings to a 1-0 lead.
Still 1-0 Vikings in the bottom of the fifth, SAU’s Brooke Goad put the Muleriders in front with her 30th home run of the season, a three-run shot that extended her Division II single-season and career home run record, and gave the hosts a 3-1 lead.
The Muleriders added a Marina Duran solo homer in the sixth to boost the lead to 4-1, and left the rest to Brooke Ford-Nelson, who earned the win in relief after pitching three perfect innings to improve to 12-4.
Mickschl pitched well in the loss, which drops her to 20-7 on the season. She gave up four runs, two earned, on five hits, with two each in walks and strikeouts.
A win for the Vikings in Friday’s 6 p.m. game sends them to the championship game, where they would need to beat the hosts twice on Saturday.
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