Augustana baseball took home its first Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament championship on Saturday after edging out Winona State 4-3 at Karras Park Home of Ronken Field. With the win, the Vikings automatically received a bid to the NCAA Central Region Tournament set to begin next week.
Augustana improved its record to 40-14 on the year with its eighth-straight win. The Warriors finished up their 2014 season at 27-22.
Kye Winter gave the Vikings a presence at the plate today, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Winter also belted his 18th double on the season in the contest.
Bennett Johnson (6-3) picked his sixth win on the mound after going 5.2 innings today. Johnson gave up three runs, one earned, on seven hits and had three strikeouts in the ballgame.
Jack Goihl chipped in with a run scored today as part of a 1-for-2 performance at the plate for Augustana.
Jake Petersen finished his day 1 for 3 with an RBI that came in the bottom fourth inning.
Derek Quame picked up his ninth save of the year, coming in and pitching 3.1 innings. Quame was dialed in on the bump today, giving up just one hit and no runs to go along with three strikeouts and no walks. The senior from Eagle Lake, Minn. threw only two balls in the 27 pitches he needed to put away WSU in the late innings.
Winona State took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning after Ryan Nyhagen singled to center field to score Michael Hommes from second base. It was Nyhagen's only hit on the day in five at-bats for the Warriors.
An Andrew Geislinger single up the middle drove in a run that pushed the WSU lead to three in the top of the fourth, giving Winona State its biggest lead all day at 3-0 over the Vikings.
Augustana, showing championship mettle, responded in the bottom half of the inning by scoring four runs to take a 4-3 lead. The Vikings got things going after both Alex Fink and Goihl got on base to start off the inning. Winter then scored Fink with his RBI single through the right side. Petersen capped off the big inning with a single through the left side that scored Jacob James to give Augustana the lead.
The Vikings had a scoring chance in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded with one out and Zach Dibble at the plate. Dibble hit into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning, keeping the Augustana lead at one.
Quame didn't need any extra insurance runs late or pitches for that matter, using just seven pitches to retire the side and get the Vikings the win in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Augustana will now wait to see who they face in the first round of NCAA Central Region Tournament. The NCAA Division II Baseball Selection show can be seen via webcast at NCAA.com on Sunday, May 11 at 9 p.m.
Courtesy: Chris Smith, Assistant Sports Information Director, Augustana College