DULUTH, Minn. – No. 13 Augustana College softball earned a split with Minnesota Duluth on Friday night falling 4-1 in game one before picking up a 9-2 win in the nightcap. The Vikings are now 29-8 on the season, including 12-4 in the NSIC while Minnesota Duluth moved to 18-15, 4-4 NSIC.
It was a tale of two games for the Vikings as they were held to a run on three hits in game one before pounding out 13 hits and scoring nine runs in game two.
Caitlin Nichol had a day at the plate for the Vikings going 4 for 8 with two home runs and four RBI in the doubleheader. Lindsay Spanton and Maddie Merriam both were 3 for 7 at the plate for Augustana.
Jenelle Trautmann (19-3) was tagged with just her third loss of the season in game one as she allowed four runs, all earned, on seven hits while striking out three. Carley Pickett earned the win in the circle in game two, striking out a season-high seven batters while allowing two runs on five hits.
The Vikings jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Nichol sent the second pitch of the game over the fence in left field. That would be the only run the Vikings would score as they were held to just two more hits over the next six innings while leaving five runners on base.
Augustana held onto its lead until Angel Dahl homered in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game at 1-1. The Bulldogs then put up three more runs on three hits in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead.
Augustana looked to cut into UMD's lead in the top of the fifth inning after a leadoff double by Carly Peterson. The Vikings would load the bases after Jordan Schaffer walked and Merriam reached on a fielder's choice before an out could be recorded. UMD's Sadler got three straight outs on a pop out, a strikeout and a line out to end the threat.
Sadler earned her 14th win of the season for the Bulldogs holding Augustana to three hits while striking out eight batters.
It was all Augustana in the nightcap as the Vikings jumped out to an early lead getting two runs in the second and third innings after UMD pushed one run across in the bottom of the first.
The Vikings had 13 hits in the contest led by Nichol who went 3 for 5 while driving in a career-high three runs. Merriam was 3 for 4 with an RBI and Emily Heinz finished 1 for 3 with a home run and two RBI.
The Bulldogs got a leadoff walk and two straight singles to load the bases in the bottom of the first and were able to score the game's first run on a sacrifice fly by Ashley Lewis to go in front 1-0.
Pickett got out of the jam after the fly out and a ground out to end the inning and the Vikings got a little help and a blast to take a 2-1 lead. With one out in the inning, Spanton reached on a throwing error and two batters later Heinz blasted a two-run home run to left center field to put the Vikings in front. The two-run shot marked the third home run of the season for Heinz.
Augustana set the Bulldogs down in order in the bottom of the second and the Vikings scored two more in the top of the third to go up 4-1. Merriam led off with a single to right field and Nichol blasted her second home run of the afternoon to left field to drive in two runs. Nichol now has five home runs on the season for the Vikings.
The Vikings continued to build its lead on UMD, scoring another run in the third and two more in the fifth and sixth innings.
Mackenzie Alstott delivered an RBI single in the top of the fourth inning to push Augustana's lead to 5-1 before the Bulldogs got a double and a single to start the bottom of the fourth and make it a 5-2 game. After the two straight hits, Pickett got a fly out and two strikeouts to end the inning.
Jordan Schaffer and Merriam each drove in runs with singles in the top of the fifth as the Vikings took a 7-2 lead.
Augustana got two more runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to add some insurance and go in front 9-2 after RBI singles from Schaffer and Nichol.
Karlee Koopman entered the game in the seventh for the Vikings and after surrendering a leadoff single she got out of the inning on two fielder's choice outs and a fly out.
The Vikings return to action tomorrow afternoon at St. Cloud State. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 12 p.m.
Courtesy: Augustana Tim Evans