Click the video player to see highlights from game one above
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AUGIE) – Augustana baseball swept Minnesota Duluth Thursday in the home opener at Ronken Field. The Vikings won game one 11-2 then followed with a 12-1 victory in game two.
Augustana powered 25 hits throughout the two games to move to 18-12 on the season and 7-3 in the NSIC. Minnesota Duluth falls to 10-12, 3-6.
Augustana rode two pitching performances as both starters allowed a combined five hits over 12 innings.
Game One: Augustana 11, Minnesota Duluth 2
Caleb Kranz was brilliant while pitching six innings and striking out a career-best 11 batters. He allowed just two earned runs while allowing just four hits.
Compared to the final score, it was a slow start offensively for AU as the Vikings plated a run in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. The first run came courtesy of a Bulldog balk with Ragan Pinnow touching home plate.
The third-inning run was Jack Hines scoring on a wild pitch. Hines was on third base after tripling to center field. It was the fourth inning that AU scored on a batted ball. Joshua Koskie singled in Tate Meiners who was on base thanks to a single and stole second base.
After UMD got a run back in the top of the fifth, Nick Banowetz scored on an error to make it 4-1.
The Bulldogs again got a run across in the next half inning, but it was a seven-run sixth inning for AU to burst the hopes of a Bulldog comeback.
Jason Axelberg hit a pinch-hit home run over the left-field fence. He brought home Trey Walker who was pinch-running for Jack Sutton who had drawn a four-pitch walk.
With the bases loaded, Drey Dirksen cleared them with a double to score Hines, Nick Banowetz and Trevor Winterstein. The next batter, Ragan Pinnow, then lifted a home run over the left-field fence for the final runs of the game.
In all, Augustana recorded 11 hits to score the 11 runs while Banowetz, Pinnow and Meiners each recorded two hits.
Game Two: Augustana 12, Minnesota Duluth 1
It was another gem on the mound for Augustana as Ryan Jares tossed six innings of two-hit ball while striking out five. Clayton Thompson then closed the game with an inning of action while striking out one.
Augustana jumped on the scoreboard in the opening frame as Jack Hines tripled in Nick Banowetz and Trevor Winterstein. Hines was then brought up by a single by Drey Dirksen.
In the second inning, Winterstein singled into right field to score Jason Axelberg.
The lone run for Minnesota Duluth was in the top of the third inning as Austin Gordon had a fly ball scrape over the fence.
Augustana came out in the bottom of the third with a vengeance, plating four runs. Banowetz reached base on a single and advanced to third on a double by Hines. He then scored on a wild pitch. The next hitter was Dirksen and he lifted a sacrifice fly into right field for a 6-1 score.
Ragan Pinnow then hit his second home run of the day as he cleared the left-field fence. After a pitching change, Tate Meiners mashed a home run to welcome the new pitcher to the mound and make it an 8-1 Augustana lead.
Augustana added a ninth run in the fourth inning and two more in the fifth. The final run of the game came off the bat of Max Mosser as he stood strong on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded to score Spencer Marenco.
In all, Augustana totaled 14 hits in the contest as Hines went 3-for-3 with three runs scored. Axelberg was 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
Augustana is set to host Bemidji State on Sunday with a 1:30 p.m. first pitch and Monday with a noon first pitch. The games are a site-reversal where BSU will be the home team on the scoreboard at Ronken Field.