MINOT, N.D. – No. 24 Augustana College softball picked up a milestone win on its way to a sweep over Minot State in NSIC action on Friday afternoon. The Vikings won the 1,400th game in program history with a 9-4 win in game one before taking down MSU (28-16, 15-11 NSIC) 11-2 in the nightcap. Augustana improved to 38-11 on the season, including 21-7 in NSIC play bringing the program record to 1,401-587-3.
Augustana picked up its 20th and 21st conference wins of the season, marking the fifth time in six seasons with 20 or more conference wins, all coming under the direction of eighth-year head coach Gretta Melsted.
Freshman shortstop Sarah Kennedy had a big day at the plate for the Vikings going 6 for 7 with a home run and five RBI in the doubleheader. Augustana added to its conference lead in home runs hitting four on the day, including three in game one, to bring its season total to 48.
Augustana won its 1,400th game in program history in the opener against Minot State getting nine runs on 12 hits, four from Kennedy which tied her season-high. Seven Vikings picked up a hit in the win and the Vikings had their bats going early to jump on Minot State early.
Kennedy finished the game going 4 for 4 with four singles and two RBI. Jenelle Trautmann also had a strong day both at the plate and in the circle going 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBI while earning her 23rd win of the season.
Trautmann tossed six strong innings allowing just one unearned run on three this while striking out three. Mindy Lorimor was hit with the loss for Minot State as she falls to 20-8 after allowing seven runs on 10 hits.
Augustana started the scoring in game one and grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning. Caitlin Nichol reached on an error to start the inning and Mackenzie Alstott was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Sarah Kennedy drove in the game's first run with an RBI single to score Alstott before Trautmann made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly.
Spanton then stepped to the plate and sent her eighth home run of the season over the fence in right center to put Augustana up 4-0.
The Vikings got six more hits in the top of the fourth inning and scored three runs to go up 7-0 and nearly missed taking a 10 run lead when Spanton was robbed of a home run for the third out of the inning.
Jordan Schaffer led off the inning with a solo home run to center field for to tie for the team lead with her 11th home run of the season to make it 5-0. Augustana then got five straight singles, including two with the bases loaded from Sarah Kennedy and Trautmann to bring the score to 7-0. With runners on first and third, Spanton drilled a shot to left field but Minot State's Jen Dixon made a catch while crashing through the temporary fence to hold the Vikings to three runs in the inning.
Minot State got on the board in the bottom of the sixth inning plating an unearned run after a leadoff single to start the inning to make the score 7-1.
The Vikings added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning after Trautmann hit a two-run home run to center field to push Augustana's lead to 9-1. Kennedy led off the inning with her fourth hit of the game and two pitches later Trautmann sent her team-leading 12th home run over the fence in center field.
Minot State didn't go away quietly in the bottom of the seventh inning as it was able to score three runs on three hits and one Viking error to bring the score to 9-4.
Augustana picked up where it left off in game one, combining for 10 runs in the second and third innings to take a commanding early lead. Nichol had a strong game at the plate in game two going 2 for 4 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Kennedy added a 2 for 3 performance in game two while hitting her fourth home run of the season and driving in three runs. Carley Pickett provided another strong start for the Vikings in the circle improving to 13-5 on the season with the win. Pickett allowed just one run on five hits while striking out four in four innings of work.
Augustana started the scoring in the top of the second of game two getting three runs on two hits and an error to take a 3-0 lead. Schaffer led off the inning with a walk before moving up to second on a sacrifice bunt by Erin Kempf. Merriam then lined out sharply to second base but Nichol extended the inning with a single to right field to score Schaffer from second to put Augustana up 1-0.
Nichol stole her 12th base of the season with Mackenzie Alstott at the plate and moved up to third on an Alstott single. Alstott then stole her team-leading 13th base of the season to put two runners in scoring position for Kennedy. Kennedy reached on an throwing error by the second baseman and Nichol and Alstott both scored to put Augustana in front 3-0.
The Vikings then put the game out of reach with a seven-run top of the third inning to go up 10-0. Augustana got six hits in the inning, including a double from Carly Peterson and a three-run home run by Kennedy. Nichol drove in a pair of runs with a single and the Vikings also got an RBI single from Kempf before scoring the final run of the inning on a Minot State error.
The Beavers got on the board with a two-out hit in the bottom of the third inning to make the score 10-1 but the Vikings got another back in the top of the fifth to push its lead back to 10 at 11-1.
Minot State got a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the fifth but the Vikings would get out of the inning and get out of Minot with two wins as they now head to Bismarck, N.D. to close-out the regular season at U-Mary.
Augustana and U-Mary will get underway with a doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m. on Saturday in the regular season finale for both teams.
Courtesy: Augustana Tim Evans