After six and a half innings of scoreless softball, Augustana's Caitlin Nichol hit a walk-off two-run home run to lift the 22nd-ranked Vikings (4-0) past Montana State University Billings (1-2) at the Desert Stinger. MSU Billings is the host of the tournament in Las Vegas, Nev.
Augustana finished the game with five hits to eight for the Yellowjackets but the Vikings got a clutch one-out home run in the bottom of the seventh inning. Nichol finished the game going 2 for 4 at the plate, including the home run. Mackenzie Alstott had the rest of Augustana's hits going 3 for 3 with three singles.
MSU-Billings pitcher Jessyka MacDonald kept Augustana's bats quiet for six innings, striking out nine batters.
Abby Chandler got the rally started in the seventh getting hit by a pitch with one out before moving up to second base on a wild pitch. Nichol then stepped to the plate and pulled a two-run shot to right field to give the Vikings their fourth straight win.
Jenelle Trautmann came in to pitch the final two innings for Augustana and earned her third win of the season finishing with a strikeout while giving up two hits. Carley Pickett started the game and gave up six hits in five innings while striking out three batters and walking just one.
The Vikings left seven runners on base in the game, leaving the bases loaded in the sixth and two on in the bottom of the third. Montana State Billings only got one runner past second base, which came with two outs in the top of the second inning.
No. 22 Augustana took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third inning but the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs scored three runs in the top of the seventh to earn a 4-3 win over the Vikings. The loss marks the first of the season for Augustana, as they finished the Desert Stinger 4-1, including a win over top-ranked and defending national champion Central Oklahoma on Saturday.
The Vikings held to a 2-1 lead heading into the final inning tonight, but the Mountain Lions scored three runs on four hits in the top of the seventh to take a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning. Augustana looked to make another comeback getting runners on second and third after Abby Chandler led off the inning with a walk and Caitlin Nichol singled.
Before Nichol's single, Chandler moved to third on a wild pitch and then Nichol stole third to put runners on second and third with nobody out. Mackenzie Alstott then grounded into a fielder's choice as Chandler was thrown out at the plate on the play and Alstott got thrown out trying to reach second. Nichol came in to score to make it 4-3 on a wild pitch but a Jenelle Trautmann grounded out to second to end the game.
Augustana finished the game with six hits but also struck out seven times on the night. Lindsay Spanton had a big day at the plate for the Vikings finishing 2 for 3 with a triple, a double and two RBI. Sarah Kennedy was 2 for 2 with a double and a single and two walks. She also scored two runs for Augustana.
Trautmann (3-1) suffered her first loss of the season in the circle after tossing all seven innings giving up four runs on nine hits while matching her season-high with eight strikeouts. Nichol finished the game 2 for 4 while scoring two runs.
UCCS took an early lead plating a run on a wild pitch in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead.
The Vikings answered in the bottom of the third inning to take a 2-1 lead after Spanton delivered a two-RBI triple down the right field line to give Augustana its only lead of the game.
Augustana and UCCS combined for just three hits over the next three innings as both pitchers took control of the game. With the Vikings holding a 2-1 lead and needing just three outs to start the season 5-0, Colorado Springs scored three runs on four hits and two Augustana errors in the top of the seventh inning to go in front 4-2.
The Vikings had a chance to tie or take the lead in the home half of the inning but were only able to get one run across in the inning coming up just short.
Augustana starts the 2014 season winning four of its first five games, including a win over the No. 1 ranked team in the country and defending national champion Central Oklahoma on Saturday.
Alstott and Spanton each hit .500 on the weekend for the Vikings.
Alstott had three stolen bases this weekend.
Spanton had three doubles, a triple and a home run for a 1.300 slugging percentage on the weekend.
Trautmann had five hits on the weekend, including a home run while driving in six runs.
Erin Kempf batted .400 on the weekend with four hits, including three doubles while driving in five runs.
Augustana pounded out 43 hits and scored 31 runs in five games.
Augustana was 6 for 6 on stolen base attempts as a team.
Augustana will have a week off before competing in the Huskydome Classic in St. Cloud, Minn. Feb. 21-23. The Vikings open the weekend with Nebraska-Kearney at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21.
Courtesy: Tim Evans, Sports Information Director, Augustana College