Taking the field for the final day at the Arkansas Tech Invite, the Augustana softball team split their final two games on Monday in Texas. The Vikings started off the day with their most impressive performance of the season, a 4-1 victory over No. 9 Texas A&M–Commerce. The Vikings battled No. 20 Arkansas Tech in game two, but ultimately fell, 6-4
Overall, Augustana leaves the season-opening showcase with a 5-3 (0-0 NSIC) record. Augustana head coach Gretta Melsted was pleased with the trip, but knows the Vikings can grow from this experience. “This tournament had a lot of really good teams in it,” Melsted said. “Our pitchers threw well, and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to improve over the next month.”
Moments that mattered:
Game one – Starter Ashley Mickschl pitched a complete-game five-hitter, allowing one run and striking out five. She helped her own cause with a two-run triple in the 5th inning.
Game two – Trailing 1-0 in the 2nd inning, Shannon Petersen crushed a two-run home run to left field. The blast was her first of the year and gave the Vikings their only lead of the game.
Game one recap:
Ashley Mickschl was handed the ball to start game one, and although she gave up a pair of hits in the first, the sophomore battled back and got out of the first frame scoreless.
The Vikings started the second with a double from Shannon Petersen, but couldn’t get the run to come around and score. Mickschl continued to pitch well through the next three frames, keeping the game scoreless with four strikeouts and just a pair of hits.
Although the Lions opened the scoring with an RBI double in the 4th, Augustana came to life in the 5th inning. The inning started with a pair of out, but following a walk from Amanda Dickmeyer and a single, Mickschl helped her own cause with a clutch triple to left center. Mary Pardo and Dickmeyer scored to give the Vikings their first lead of the day.
Looking to add onto the scoreboard, junior Christina Pickett stepped in a smashed a two-run home run to left field. Her first homer of the season – and ninth of her career – gave the Vikings a 4-1 lead after five innings of action.
Mickschl returned to the circle in the 6th and 7th inning and closed out the game with three strikeouts over the final two frames. The sophomore tossed a complete game for the Vikings, allowing just five hits, one run and striking out eight. Mickschl moves to 2-1 on the year.
Game two recap:
The Vikings stepped on the diamond for the eighth and final time versus the host school, No. 20 Arkansas Tech. The Golden Suns started strong, picking up a run on a throwing error in the top of the first, but the Vikings came right back in the 2nd.
Following a single from Maggie Kadrlik, Shannon Petersen stepped in and crushed her first home of the year, a two-run shot to left center. The No. 25 Vikings had taken a 2-1 lead after two innings of play.
Arkansas Tech answered, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the third to re-take the lead. Amber Elliott started for the Vikings, pitching two innings and allowing one earned run. Olivia Wolters entered in relief, and although she picked up three strikeouts, also allowed a pair of earned runs on the day.
The Vikings trailed 4-2 entering the 6th, but looked for a comeback. With two runners on, Dickmeyer singled through the left side for an RBI, but the Viking would leave to on base to end the frame.
Now training 6-3 in their final at-bats, Petersen added an another RBI single to make it a two-run game. Now with two runners on, Taylor Bross had an opportunity but fouled out to the catcher for the games final out.
Augustana now returns home to Sioux Falls where the Vikings will have more than a month off between games. Their next action will be March, 8 in Kissimmee, Fla. versus Gannon (PA) University.
— GoAugie.com —