SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A combination of dominant pitching and hitting by Augustana baseball resulted in the Vikings advancing to its first-ever NSIC Championship game after a 17-2 win over Wayne State on Friday in the NSIC Tournament play. Augustana's record now stands at 39-14 on the year with the win, a new team record for wins in a season. The Wildcats dropped to 27-23 with the loss.
The Vikings' 17 runs on 21 hits were both season highs for 2014.
Michael Letkewicz (8-2) gave Augustana another quality start of the mound, a common theme so far in the tournament. Letkewicz went 7.2 innings on the hill, allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits. The right-handed sophomore also fanned 10 in the win, one off his season high.
Alex Fink continued his impressive tournament play with a 4-for-6 day that included four RBI and three runs scored, both tying a career high. Fink's four hits were part of a lineup that produced seven batters for the Vikings that had multiple hits in the game.
Jack Goihl smacked his third homerun in as many games in the NSIC Tournament with two-run blast to left field in the top of the fifth inning. Goihl finished his day 2 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored.
Tony Viger got the bat going today with a three-hit day at the plate that produced three RBI.
Marcus O'Neill turned in his second straight three-hit day in the tournament. The Blaine, Minn. native also drove in two and scored three runs for Augustana.
The Vikings got the quick start they were looking for with a three-run top of the first inning, capped off by Kye Winter's RBI double to center field that scored O'Neill.
WSC cut the Augustana lead to one at 3-2 in the bottom half of the fourth after Jake Perez's double scored two runs for Wayne State.
The Vikings responded big time in the top of the fifth with four runs to put this one out of reach for the Wildcats, highlighted by Goihl's two-run jack to left field that made it 6-2. O'Neill drove in another run a few batters later to make it 7-2.
An eight-run explosion in the top of the ninth made it 17-2 in favor of Augustana. The Vikings got their eight runs on six hits to wrap up the win and advance to the NSIC Championship game on Saturday at 12 p.m at Karras Park Home of Ronken Field.
Courtesy: Augustana Chris Smith