WAYNE, Neb. – Augustana baseball hit a cold spell at the plate on Friday, combing for seven hits in two losses to Wayne State in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play. The Vikings fell to 32-13 (22-7 NSIC) with the losses, while the Wildcats improved to 22-17 (15-10 NSIC) on the year with the two wins.
Augustana had no answer for Wayne State's Eric Browning in a 6-0 shutout loss. It was the second time this season the Vikings have been shutout.
Augustana was held to a season-low two hits at the plate.
Browning (6-3) had complete control in the game, giving up just two hits to go along with nine strikeouts for the WSC in the complete-game shutout victory.
Alex Fink and Marcus O'Neill were the only Vikings to get a hit in the contest.
Michael Letkewicz (6-2) dropped his first game in over a month on the mound. Letkewicz finished his day going four innings, giving up five runs, three earned, on eight hits.
Jake Petersen's 24-game hitting streak came to a halt after a 0-for-2 day at the plate.
Tony Viger saw his 12-game streak fall as well, going 0 for 3.
The Wildcats got out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after CJ Nolen's single to left field scored Zak Leighton form second base with one out.
Letkewicz started off the bottom half of the second strong, striking out the first two Wayne State batters, before getting himself in a bases-loaded jam. The Waterloo, Iowa native then walked in a run, and gave up a single to short that brought in another run to give WSC a 3-0 lead after two.
Fink gave the Vikings their second hit of the ballgame in the top of the fourth. Augustana couldn't capitalize as Jack Goihl grounded out in the next at-bat.
Wayne State upped its lead to five in the bottom of the fourth after Nolen's sac fly to left field scored Leighton from third base.
The Wildcats tacked on another run to make it 6-0 WSC in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nolen picked up his third RBI of the game with a single that scored Aaron Krier from third.
Augustana had no answer as the game got into the late innings, going down without much of a fight in the top of the seventh to give the Wayne State the 6-0 win.
The Vikings couldn't get the bats going for a second-straight game, losing 4-1 to the Wildcats.
Augustana got five hits the contest, giving them seven combined for the two games on Friday.
Tyson Gau (6-3) gave the Vikings a great start, but had two rough innings that did the Alexandria, S.D. native in, giving him three losses on the season. Gau pitched 7.0 innings, giving up four runs, only one earned, on 10 hits. The senior right-hander also had five strikeouts on the day.
Winter went 1 for 3 with lone run scored in the loss for Augustana.
Brendan Koistinen drove in the lone run of the game with a pinch-hit sac fly in the top of the fifth inning.
Pitcher's duel broke out early between the Wildcats' Matt Russell and Gau. Neither gave an inch through the first three innings, Gau only allowing two hits to Russell's one.
The Vikings finally broke open a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth inning to take a 1-0 lead. Kye Winter and Brian Duxbury started the inning off with back-to-back hits to put runners on first and second with no outs. Koistinen came in to pinch hit for Zach Dibble with two outs and drove Winter across home plate with a sac fly to left field to score the Willow Lake, S.D. native from third base to give Augustana their only lead on the day.
WSC tied the game up at 1-1 in the bottom half of the sixth with Aaron Molinaro's double to left center with two outs scored Michael Herman. Gau rebounded by striking out Mike Servais to get the final out of the inning.
Wayne State made its move in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring three runs on four hits to take a 4-1 lead. A two-out two-RBI double by Nolen to right center highlighted the big inning for the Wildcats at the plate.
The Vikings never got anything going at the plate late in the game, allowing WSC to hold on to the 4-1 win.
Courtesy: Augustana Chris Smith