MANKATO, Minn. (AUGUSTANA) — Senior lefty Koby Bishop and sophomore righty Ryan Jares both dominated on the mound and threw shutouts Wednesday afternoon as the Augustana baseball team swept the No. 14-ranked Mavericks of Minnesota State on the road. Augustana won game one by a score of 1-0 and followed with a 7-0 victory in game two.
“It’s hard to lose when you pitch two shutouts,” head coach Tim Huber joked after the game. “This was a fun day at the ballpark against a good team with two awesome pitching performances by Koby and Ryan.
“We played nearly flawless defense and got a couple of big hits when needed. To go on the road and do what we did today should give our guys the confidence we need to head down the stretch this spring and finish on a high note.”
The Mavericks were shut out for just the second and third time this season Wednesday afternoon and were also a perfect 10-0 at home, before the Vikings dropped them to 10-2 after the sweep.
The Vikings improve to 26-8 on the season and 22-8 in the NSIC. Minnesota State, the NSIC leader, falls to 25-6 and 21-5.
The aforementioned Bishop earned the win in game one for the Vikings with an absolutely dominant performance. Bishop went the distance with seven scoreless frames and struck out eight Mavericks while surrendering just five hits.
The shutout is the third-consecutive outing in which Bishop has not allowed a run. In his last 29 innings pitched, he has allowed just two runs. On the season, the senior is now 6-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 41.2 innings pitched.
After a quiet first and second, the Mavericks threatened Bishop and the Vikings with a scoring opportunity in the bottom of the third. After a couple of base hits and a double steal, Minnesota State had runners on second and third with two outs. Bishop got out of the inning, however, with a swinging strikeout of Adam Schneider.
Following the threat, Augustana came to the plate in the top of the fourth and produced the lone run of the game. Junior infielder Jordan Barth smoked a leadoff single to center field to start things off. Senior infielder Christian Kuzemka then followed Barth with a seeing eye single to right field.
Barth read the ball off Kuzemka’s bat perfectly and advanced to third with ease and then came around to score on an errant throw by the Maverick second baseman.
The lone run was enough for Bishop as he cruised through the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings, before his biggest test of the day in the bottom of the sixth.
Minnesota State was able to load the bases with two outs, after a single and a couple of good at-bats that produced walks. With two outs and nowhere to put Minnesota State’s Jack Waletich, Bishop jumped ahead in the count 0-2. The next delivery from Bishop froze Waletich for the strikeout looking and third out of the inning, sending the Viking dugout into a frenzy.
Three outs away from victory in the bottom of the seventh inning, Bishop notched his first 1-2-3 inning of the day to secure the 1-0 win.
At the plate, junior catcher Will Olson and junior outfielder Jaxon Rosencranz each tallied one hit apiece in addition to Barth and Kuzemka’s hits.
The aforementioned Jares responded to Bishop’s game-one shutout with a masterpiece of his own in game two. Jares also went the distance in the nine inning affair and struck out 14 hitters while allowing just four hits.
On the season, Jares is now 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA and a whopping 71 strikeouts in 46.1 innings pitched.
The sophomore received run support from his offense throughout the contest and saw the Vikings first break through in the top of the third.
Junior infielder JT Mix smoked a single through the left side to start the frame and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single off the bat of senior shortstop Sam Baier. With runners at the corners, Barth brought in the first run of the game with an RBI groundout. The next batter, Kuzemka, reached base on an error by the shortstop, allowing Baier to come in for the 2-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth, Rosencranz smoked a one-out double to the left-center gap and came around to score on an RBI double off the bat of freshman catcher Drey Dirksen.
Up 3-0 in the top of the seventh, Mix singled to start the inning and advanced to third on a hit-and-run single, this time off the bat of sophomore outfielder Carter Howell. That brought Baier to the plate, who perfectly executed a safety squeeze bunt and scored Mix for the RBI.
Jares continued his mastery and struck out the side in the bottom of the eighth inning (the second time he did that in the afternoon), sending game two into the final inning.
After the Mavericks allowed the Vikings to score their fifth run of the game on a two-out error in the top of the ninth, Barth stepped up to the plate and magnified the mistake even further with a no-doubt two-run home run over the left field wall to balloon Augustana’s advantage to 7-0.
Jares followed with a 1-2-3 ninth inning to clinch the victory and close out the sweep.
At the plate in game two, Augustana received two hits apiece from Mix and Howell and one apiece from Baier, Barth, Olson, senior outfielder Riley Johnson, Rosencranz and Dirksen.
The Vikings now sit at 26-8 overall and 22-8 within the NSIC this season and host Wayne State for a three-game home series Saturday and Sunday at Karras Park Home of Ronken Field. Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 1:30 p.m. and Sunday’s game three starts at noon with the senior day celebration slated for 11:40 a.m.