WARRENSBURG, M.O. (AU) – The Augustana baseball team is headed to the NCAA Super Regional for the central region. The Vikings downed No. 3 Central Missouri 9-5 in Warrensburg, Missouri, to win the NCAA Central Region Pod #1.
The win moved Augustana to 47-11-1 on the year while Central Missouri has its season end with a 46-9 record. Augustana handed UCM a loss on Feb. 13 when it was also ranked No. 3 in the country, winning two-of-three matchups over the year against last season’s Central Region Champion.
The win is the 500th of head coach Tim Huber’s career at Augustana as his overall record is 500-233-1 in 14 seasons.
Tanner Brown started the game on the hill for the Vikings, tossing 5.2 innings while striking out six batters. He regained the single-season strikeout record, retaking it from Ryan Jares, and is at 110 for the year. Seth Miller took over for Brown on the mound in the fifth inning. Miller spent 3.1 innings on the mound and logged 3 strikeouts.
Augustana began the scoring in the first inning, adding one run to the board after Max Mosser scored on Will Olson’s ground out to the UCM shortstop. Mosser reached base earlier in the inning on a walk.
The Mules took a 3-1 lead in the second inning and pushed a two-run deficit for the Vikings to have to overcome.
The Vikings then pulled within one run, tied the game and took a 5-3 lead all in the span of four pitches in the bottom of the second.
Luke Ballweg notched his sixth homer of the season to make it 3-2, UCM. On the very next pitch, Drey Dirksen hit a solo bomb to left field to make it a tie game. One pitch later, Mosser was granted first base on a hit-by-pitch, where again, just one pitch after, Carter Howell sent a ball sailing over the left-field fence for a 5-3 Augustana lead.
With the Vikings leading, Brown went on cruise control and didn’t allow any damage in the third and fourth innings while the Vikings added four more runs to the tally.
With Will Olson on first base, Jack Hines tripled to center field to score Olson and push the lead to 6-3. Still in the third inning, Jaxon Rosencranz hit a sacrifice bunt to score Hines.
In the fourth inning, Olson sent a towering home run over the left-field wall for a two-run homer and a commanding 9-3 lead.
The Mules added a single run in the fifth inning and sixth inning to pull within four runs at 9-5, but Miller’s relief appearance shut down any chance of a comeback. Over 3.1 innings, Miller allowed just a single hit, walked one and struck out three batters to seal the victory for the Vikings, earning the save.
Augustana now travels to Magnolia, Arkansas for a best of three series with Southern Arkansas for the Central Region Championship. The series starts on Friday with game two on Saturday. The if-necessary third game will be played Sunday.