MANDAN, N.D.–The Augustana baseball team defeated the Wayne State Wildcats 6-5 in game one of the NSIC Tournament. The Vikings improve to 40-16 overall with the victory and move on in the winner’s bracket. WSC falls to 24-25 overall and faces elimination in the upcoming matchups of the tournament.

In addition, Augustana is ranked sixth in the latest central region rankings announced Wednesday.

Wayne State was the first team on the board in the nine-inning affair following a single that plated one run in the third inning. 

Drey Dirksen started Augustana’s scoring with a solo shot to left in the three-run fourth inning. Dirksen’s homer was his 14th of the season and got the Vikings on the board with their first run. Later in the inning, a two-run bomb from Luke Ballweg sent Ragan Pinnow in to score. 

AU’s fourth run of the game was generated by Parker Mooney’s solo shot to right field. 

In the bottom of the eighth, Dirksen slapped a single to right field to score Jack Hines, pushing AU ahead 5-2. With the bases loaded, Ballweg drove in another run, scoring Dirksen. 

The Wildcats posted a late rally in the ninth inning  with a grand slam that brought the score to 6-5, but the Vikings were able to hold them off and capture the win. 

At the plate, Dirksen and Nick Banowetz logged two hits apiece while Dirksen, Mooney and Ballweg recorded one home run each. 

Seth Miller got the start on the mound for the Vikings, pitching 7.1 innings and striking out nine batters. Ashton Michek took over for Miller in the top of the eighth and tossed 1.1 innings, recording one strikeout. Adam Diedrich earned his 12th save of the season, moving into the top spot in the nation for single season saves.

For the fourth time in program history, the Viking pitching staff surpassed 500 strikeouts. Augustana entered the game with 496 strikeouts and with 10 in today’s win, AU has logged 506 strikeouts this season. 

Up Next 

The Vikings play the winner of the Southwest Minnesota State/St. Cloud State matchup Thursday at the Bismarck Municipal Ballpark in Bismarck, North Dakota. First pitch is set for 3:30 p.m.