ROCHESTER, Minn. (Augustana) – The Augustana softball team reached the NSIC Tournament Championship game Saturday before falling to Minnesota Duluth. To reach the title contest, the Vikings topped St. Cloud State, 4-3, in a contest that was resumed in the fifth inning after Friday’s game was suspended due to inclement weather.
It is assumed the Vikings’ season concludes with its record at 39-15 and an NSIC regular season championship. Minnesota Duluth garners the league’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament with a 40-11 record.
Resumed Game: Augustana 4, St. Cloud State 3 (8 innings)
Abby Lien opened the game for Augustana with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first. The senior third baseman carried the first pitch of her at-bat over the left-field fence. Andrea Cain also scored on the play after hitting a leadoff single to second base.
The Huskies got one run back in the top of the third as Sydney Trees hit a home run to center field. In the top of the fourth, SCSU tacked on two more runs to take a 3-2 lead when Maggie Fitzgerald hit a home run to left field.
As Helene Krage was warming up in the top of the fifth inning, mother nature had other plans and wiped out the remaining contest on Friday. The suspended game resumed Saturday.
Krage made quick work of the Huskies when play resumed Saturday and AU entered the bottom of the fifth trailing 3-2. With two outs, Gracey Brink singled to center field and was moved to second base by a single to left field from Abby Lien. That set up Torri Chute, the NSIC Player of the Year, to single into center field and score Brink to knot the game up at three.
Neither team could get the offense moving in the sixth or seventh innings, forcing extra innings.
Krage again made quick work of the Huskies in the top of the extra frame with a lineout and two groundouts.
To lead off the bottom of the eighth, Chute worked a five-pitch walk. Delaney Young singled on a bunt and had Chute move to third base on a throwing error. SCSU chose to load the bases with Ashton Dorman batting.
That’s when Kennedy Buckman singled into center field to score Chute and send the Vikings to the NSIC Championship game.
Championship Game: Minnesota Duluth 9, Augustana 0
The Bulldogs plated three runs in the top of the first, placed two more runs on the scoreboard in the second and another in the fourth to push a 6-0 lead just halfway through the seven innings. UMD then scored three more runs in the seventh for the final 9-0 score.
Augustana’s first hit of the game came in the bottom of the third as Gracey Brink doubled into left field. The Vikings then threatened as Torri Chute drew a walk to place runners on first and second with two outs. However, a groundout ended the threat and the contest moved into the fourth inning.
Brink tallied two of the Vikings four hits while the other two came from Delaney Young and Ashton Dorman. Young and Dorman’s hits came in the sixth inning, but were erased by another groundout.
Following the contest, Abby Lien and Torri Chute were named to the NSIC All-Tournament Team.
The NCAA Selection Show takes place Monday morning at 9 a.m. However, the Vikings were not in the latest regional rankings.