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Updated: Jul 23, 2014 12:31AM
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CSB: Kennedy, Augustana Top Missouri Western State

May 9, 2014, 10:35 PM

CSB: Kennedy, Augustana Top Missouri Western State

WINONA, Minn. - After responding to Missouri Western State taking a lead a lead, Sarah Kennedy delivered the final punch with a two-out solo homerun that gave Augustana an 8-7 win and a trip to the winner’s bracket in the first round of the NCAA Central Region 1 tournament.

The freshman from Bettendorf, Iowa belted her seventh home run of the season and advanced Augustana (44-13) to the winner’s bracket and a rematch with No. 1 seed Winona State who advanced by way of a 3-2 win over eighth-seeded Southern Arkansas earlier in the afternoon.

Augustana’s lone senior Lindsay Spanton pulled the Vikings even with a three-run homerun in the sixth inning that set up Kennedy’s seventh-inning heroics.

As the home team, the Vikings were able to respond to the Griffons on multiple occasions and Augustana used four home runs to fuel their Friday-afternoon victory. Jenelle Trautmann drilled her 17th and 18th homeruns to keep the Vikings within the hunt and increase her school record to 54 as she has now hit 18 round-trippers in each of her three seasons at Augustana.

Trautmann earned the start after posting a 26-6 record before NCAA postseason competition, but Missouri Western State capitalized on early Augsutana miscues. The Girffons loaded the bases with no outs and drew first blood on a wild pitch and then plated one more on a groundout to the right side.

Helping her own cause, Traumtann launched a ball over the left field fence for a two-run home run that drew the Vikings even at 2-2 after one inning of play. Trautmann then added her third RBI on the day when she was hit by a pitch and forced in Caitlin Nichol, who earned her way on base by getting hit by a pitch for the 22nd time in 2014, providing the Vikings their only run that wasn’t the result of a homerun.

Missouri Western State quickly responded when they plated an unearned run on a passed ball but Trautmann worked her way out of the third inning to keep the Vikings tied 3-3.

Opening the NCAA postseason on a tear, Trautmann smashed her second homerun of the day and put the Vikings up 4-3 with her two-out shot in the fourth inning.

Southpaw Carley Pickett came on to face MWSU’s left-handed hitters and found herself in a jam before Trautmann re-entered as the pitcher. The Griffons’ catcher Kat Steponovich then launched a 2-0 pitch over the centerfield wall for a three-run homerun that capped off a four-run fifth inning which put MWSU up 7-4.

Pitching around Trautmann who already hit two homeruns, the Griffons walked Augustana’s cleanup hitter which set up Spanton with the opportunity to tie. The Viking senior held off on chasing the away pitches thrown her way before she took an inside fastball deep over the leftfield wall and tied the game in the bottom of the sixth with a three-run homerun.

Pickett came on to record the final out of the fifth inning and shut down the Missouri Western State offensive in the sixth and seventh to set up the Vikings for a chance to win.

With the top of the order leading off the bottom of the seventh, the Vikings had to like their chances with Trautmann waiting in the wings at the four-hole. Two quick outs seemingly dampened Augustana’s chances, but their freshman shortstop didn’t need the Vikings’ power hitters to end the game as Kennedy laced a ball to straightaway center and cleared the fence for a solo homerun and a walkoff victory.

Pickett’s three-and-a-third innings of work earned the win and pushed her record to 16-6 on the season. MWSU’s Jackie Bishop was saddled with her ninth loss of the season, falling one out short of a complete seven innings.

The Vikings take on Winona State tomorrow at 1 p.m. with a chance to play in the Central Region Championship.

 

Courtesy: Augustana Eric Zahn

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