A series that was moved and shortened showed the Augustana baseball team solely atop the NSIC standings as the Vikings (18-7, 11-1) swept a doubleheader with No. 4 St. Cloud State (21-5, 9-3 NSIC). The Vikings won game one with a 4-3 extra-inning victory and game two 5-3 with a two-run ninth inning.
In the first game of the doubleheader, Augustana compiled 17 hits over the course of the game, with JT Mix leading the team at four hits in five at bats. The Vikings took an early 3-0 lead as they scored one run in each of the first three innings of the game. Ryan Nickel, Riley Johnson, and Ford Schroeder each chipped in with RBI during the three-inning stretch.
St. Cloud State charged back in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, scoring one run in each of those innings to tie the game up at 3-3, where the score remained into extra innings. In extra innings, the two teams were able to put runners on base, but could not cash in runs until Augustana broke through in the top of the 11th inning. Jordan Barth led off the top of the 11th inning and stroked his fourth home run of the season to put the Vikings in the driver’s seat with a 4-3 lead.
Michael Brandt took the mound in the bottom of the 11th and shut the door on the Huskies, recording his third save of the season in a one-two-three inning.
Ryan Helgeson earned the win in game one, pitching one inning with one strikeout. Max Steffens started the game and pitched six full innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits. Seth Miller served a middle-relief role and pitched three innings with one earned run.
The second game of Monday’s doubleheader saw St. Cloud State claim an early 1-0 lead in the first inning as the Vikings found their footing against St. Cloud State’s Sheldon Miks who got the nod on the hill in game two.
Augustana broke through with one run in the fourth, but the Huskies took a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. The Vikings added single runs in the fifth and sixth innings against the veteran pitcher to tie the game at 3-3.
The relief pitchers held strong through the seventh and eighth innings for both teams, but the Vikings put up two runs in the top of the ninth on an RBI single by Mix and an error that would score Mix later in the inning.
The two-run lead proved to be enough for Augustana as Thomas Bruss completed his relief outing going one-two-three in the bottom of the ninth. Bruss earned the win on five innings of work out of the bullpen allowing just two hits while striking out four.
Five Augustana batters put up multi-hit games, a group that included Michael Svozil, Will Olson, Miller, Mix, and Johnson. Johnson extended his hitting streak to 20 games in the game two win. Mix finished the doubleheader having batted seven-for-nine with one RBI.
The Vikings return home for a doubleheader with Southwest Minnesota State on Wednesday in a mid-week series that was originally scheduled to be played in Marshall, Minn. The site reversal interrupts what would have been a nearly three-week long road trip for Augustana.