ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Augustana softball team opened the NSIC Tournament with a 3-1 win Thursday over Southwest Minnesota State in Rochester, Minnesota. Augustana, the top-seeded team in the tournament, moves on to play St. Cloud State Friday in a noon matchup.
In the bottom of the second, Kennedy Buckman launched a solo shot to left field to get the Vikings their first run and lead of the game.
The Vikings found themselves knocking on the door to increase that lead in the bottom of the fourth, but the Mustang defense prevailed and left two runners stranded for the Vikings.
The Vikings would eventually push the lead in the bottom of the 5th. Delaney Young singled to center field allowing Torri Chute, who reached on a walk, to advance from first to third. Chute would score during the next at bat when Gracey Brink flew out to center field. Buckman would then again lift the Vikings with a double to left field, scoring Hailey Houston, who pinch ran for Young. The Vikings would take that 3-1 lead into the 6th.
The Mustangs, 21-30 on the year, tried to make things interesting in the top of the sixth. Abby Russell and Emily Tatur would both secure singles after a lead off groundout. Bailey Johnson stepped to the plate and doubled to left center, advancing Tatur to third and Russell across the plate to give the Mustangs their first run of the afternoon. Mickschl and the AU defense would escape the danger after closing the inning on back-to-back ground outs with two runners in scoring position.
Mickschl closed out her complete game win, striking out two in the final frame.
Ashley Mickschl picked up her 21st win of the season in the circle, allowing five hits and just the lone earned run. She struck out four batters and walked none.
Kennedy Buckman tailed two hits on two at bats driving in two runs.
Augustana faces St. Cloud State at noon on Friday after the Huskies, seeded fourth, topped Minnesota Duluth in 13 innings on Thursday. Full coverage of the contest can be found at GoAugie.com/Live.