ROCHESTER, Minn. – The Augustana softball team has advanced to the semifinals of the NSIC Tournament after topping St. Cloud State, 5-4, on Thursday in Rochester, Minnesota. The Vikings will now play at noon on Friday against Minnesota Duluth for the chance to continue on in the winner’s bracket.
The Vikings, who improve to 38-13 on the season, fell behind 3-0 in the top of the first but immediately got a run back in the bottom of the first inning. Andrea Cain took the first pitch she saw in the Vikings’ first at-bat and went to left-center for the solo home run.
The 3-1 deficit held until the fourth inning as the Vikings plated four runs in the inning to take the lead. Kennedy Buckman worked a full-count walk to reach first base. Sydney Herbert then launched a home run to knot things up at 3-3.
AU took the lead as Gracey Brink hit a hard single into left-field to score Liz Dierks who was standing on second base after reaching base on an error. The Vikings made it a 5-3 game when Torri Chute singled to score Brink.
St. Cloud State, who fell to 32-19 on the season, got one run back in the sixth for the 5-4 score. The Huskies then threatened in the top of the seventh but the game ended on a wild play at the plate.
Jasmin Estrada singled to shortstop on a chopper. Herbert’s throw to first base was just a touch late, but while the throw was going to first base, the SCSU coach sent Raven Vanden Langenberg, who was on second base at the start of the play, home. Delaney Young saw this, and took the ball and made a perfect throw to Brink at catcher who easily tagged Vanden Langenberg out to end the game.
Augustana recorded eight hits in the game with two from the NSIC Player of the Year, Chute, and two from Herbert.
Lexi Lander was credited with the win for AU after tossing six innings. Hailey Houston picked up the save by throwing the final inning of the game.
Augustana is back on Friday in the true semifinal contest as it’s a battle of the NSIC Tournament unbeatens of Minnesota Duluth and Augustana. The winner advances straight to the NSIC Championship contest on Saturday while the loser will play at 4 p.m. against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.