WARRENSBURG, Mo. (AUGUSTANA) — Augustana baseball defeated No. 22 Minnesota State on Thursday in the first game of the NCAA Central Region Tournament in come-from-behind fashion, 10-9. The Vikings move on to the winner’s bracket semifinals of the Central Region Pod No. 1 on Friday.
Caleb Kranz picked up the win for Augustana on the hill as he tossed 4.1 innings while striking out three batters. He entered the game with the Vikings trailing 6-4 and did not give up a run in his outing. Caleb Saari earned the save, getting two strikeouts to close the game.
Minnesota State got on the board fast and early with two runs in the first inning.
In the second inning, the Vikings were able to tie it up after Max Mosser sailed the ball up the middle, scoring Luke Ballweg and JT Mix. Mix was on base after a single while Ballweg was on base with a fielder’s choice.
The Mavericks took over in the bottom of the second inning, scoring three runs to lead 5-2.
Augustana cut the lead to one run in the top of the fourth inning. Mosser hit a single through to the right side that plated Jaxon Rosencranz. Drey Dirksen scored when Carter Howell grounded out to the third baseman.
MSU pushed their lead to two runs with a single that scored a runner to end the fourth inning.
The momentum completely shifted in the fifth inning as the Vikings took their first lead of the game. A triple from Rosencranz brought in Mix and Jack Hines. Rosencranz was later sent home on Jason Axelberg’s sacrifice fly to the MSU right fielder.
A solo homer from Howell to lead off the sixth inning made it an 8-6 game. Howell’s bomb was the 13th of the season for the Viking outfielder. Hines pushed the lead to 9-6 after a single through to the right side and Olson was able to score on a throwing error by Minnesota State.
Mosser hit a fly ball to left field and turned it into a triple after the ball fell between the MSU shortstop and left fielder. Mosser scored on Howell’s single up the middle in the next play and AU held a 10-6 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Mavericks hit a three-run homer over the fence in right field to cut the Viking’s lead to 10-9. That’s when Saari entered the game and shutdown the Mavericks to advance to the next round of the 2022 NCAA Central Region Tournament.
Mosser and Howell led the lineup with three RBI each. Mix and Rosencranz each scored two runs in the win.
The Vikings totaled 14 hits in the win as Mosser led the way with three. Three other Vikings had multi-hit games with Hines, Rosencranz and Howell each recording a pair of hits.
The Vikings take on the winner of the No. 1 Central Missouri/No. 8 Ouachita Baptist game on Friday at 3:30 p.m. Note the time change from the original bracket as the games have been moved to avoid potential weather in the Warrensburg, Missouri, area.