MAGNOLIA, Ark. (AUGUSTANA) — Augustana baseball fell to No. 8 Southern Arkansas in game one of the best-of-three series Friday night, 8-7, in Magnolia, Arkansas. The Vikings will play game two at Southern Arkansas on Saturday. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. With a Vikings’ win, game three will take place immediately following game two. 

Ryan Jares was the starter on the hill for the Vikings. Jares tossed 1.1 innings and struck out two batters. Seth Miller entered the game with the bases loaded, striking out two to get AU out of the inning. Miller logged four strikeouts in six innings while giving up just two hits and two runs.. Caleb Kranz spent 0.2 innings of the game on the mound and struck out one batter.

The Vikings were quick to get on the board with three runs in the first inning. Will Olson homered to bring in Jordan Barth and Carter Howell. The four-base hit by Olson was his 16th of the season. Howell reached base with a single to left field and Barth reached on a single to right.

In the bottom of the first inning, the Muleriders got on the board with two runs after a home run to left center. 

Augustana was able to push the lead to 4-2 in the second after Jordan Barth doubled down the left field line, plating Drey Dirksen.

Southern Arkansas regained the lead in the bottom of the second inning, scoring two runs on bases-loaded walks and another run on a ground-out to first base with the bases loaded. After just two innings of play at Walker Stadium, the score was 5-4 in favor of Southern Arkansas.

Two solo homers in the sixth inning allowed Augustana to regain the lead. First, Jaxon Rosencranz sent the ball over the fence in left field to tie the game for his eighth home run of the season. Dirksen then hit a dinger to right center, giving the Vikings the 6-5 lead with his 16th home run of the season.

The Muleriders scored the tying run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly that brought a runner in.

Southern Arkansas scored two runs to take the lead in the eighth. Despite the Vikings putting a run across the board in the top of the ninth on a JT Mix single, the Muleriders secured the victory in game one.

Barth went 3-for-5 at the plate, scoring two runs and logging a double and an RBI. Max Mosser also went 3-for-5 with two doubles. Olson and Dirksen are each one home run shy of tying the Augustana single-season record with 17, set by Kris Ashland in 2017.

The Vikings return to the diamond on Saturday for game two of the series. Augustana looks to force a game three with a victory Saturday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.