SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The No. 19-ranked Augustana baseball team flexed its muscles in game one of the best-of-three portion of the NSIC Tournament, defeating the Winona State Warriors 12-0 Thursday night at Karras Park Home of Ronken Field.
Sophomore righty Ryan Jares started on the mound for Augustana and was his dominating self. Jares earned the win, tossing seven scoreless while tallying nine strikeouts and allowing just five hits. His season stat line now reads 6-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 85 strikeouts in 59 innings pitched.
In relief, sophomore utility man Tony Lanier pitched a scoreless inning with three strikeouts in the eighth before handing the ball to senior righty Jordan Gesling. Gesling recorded the first two outs in the ninth before junior lefty Jed Schmidt closed the door with a nifty play to end the ballgame as he snagged a line drive headed back up the middle.
At the plate, the Viking bats wasted no time and put crooked numbers up on the scoreboard early. In the bottom of the first, sophomore outfielder Carter Howell walked to start the ballgame and became the first run of the game, scoring on a two-out two-run home run off the bat of junior catcher Will Olson. Olson’s homer was his team-leading 13th of the season.
With two outs in the frame, senior infielder Christian Kuzemka smoked a single up the middle, stole second base and came around to score on an RBI single off the bat of senior shortstop Sam Baier to cap off the three-run rally.
Up 3-0 in the bottom of the third, Howell launched his ninth home run of season to lead the inning off and put the Vikings up 4-0. Two pitches later, freshman infielder Max Mosser looped a base hit into center field and was followed by a double off the bat of junior infielder Jordan Barth to put runners on second and third with no one out.
Olson then delivered a run on a sacrifice fly followed by an RBI single from Kuzemka. After Kuzemka’s hit, Baier singled up the middle to bring senior outfielder Riley Johnson to the plate. Johnson followed with an RBI double to push the Viking advantage to 7-0 after just three complete innings.
Augustana put the finishing touches on the game with a five-spot in the bottom of the fifth. In the inning, Johnson tallied an RBI single, Howell singled in two with the bases loaded and Mosser sent a two-run triple off the top of the right field wall to bring the game to its final score of 12-0.
At the plate, Johnson led the Vikings with three hits while Howell, Mosser, Barth, Baier and Kuzemka all logged two. Olson and junior infielder JT Mix both finished with one.
Game two of the series is set for 1:30 p.m. on Friday. The Vikings need just one win to advance to the four-team NSIC Tournament next week. If necessary, game three will be played 45 minutes after the conclusion of game two.