ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AUGUSTANA) – After winning all four matchups over the course of the past four days, the No. 16 Augustana baseball team was crowned the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament Champion on Sunday. The Vikings defeated Minot State 13-8 in a highly competitive game in which the Beavers nearly came back from a 9-0 deficit.
Augustana got on the board first against the Beavers, scoring the first run of the game after a Minot State error allowed Ryan Nickel to score. After a scoreless second, the Vikings put up five runs in the third. The first run of the inning came on a Nickel RBI double that drove in Ford Schroeder. Riley Johnson followed it up with a sacrifice fly that scored Michael Svozil.
Jordan Barth singled to drive in Nickel and Nate Crossman capped off the five-run inning with a two-RBI single. Both teams were scoreless in the fourth inning before a three-run inning by Augustana in the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Viking scoring was started off by Will Olson scoring on a balk. Later on, Sam Baier blasted a two-run shot to left field and scored Crossman to put Augustana on top 9-0.
In the sixth inning, Minot State made a push for a comeback with seven runs. With the lead narrowed to two runs, the Vikings answered with one run in the bottom half of the inning on as Crossman wore a pitch to record an RBI as Svozil scored from third.
Minot State drew the game back to two runs with a run in the seventh and the score remained at 10-8 till the bottom of the eighth inning. In the eighth, Augustana flexed their bats as Johnson knocked a solo homer to start off the inning while Baier went yard for the second time of the game with a two-run homer to deep left field.
At the plate, Augustana hit three home runs, while Crossman recorded three RBI and Baier put up four. Five Vikings recorded at least two hits in Svozil, Johnson, Olson, Crossman, and Baier.
On the mound, Evan Furst held the Beavers in check for the first four innings, allowing just one hit during those innings. Furst earned his seventh win after pitching five complete innings. Michael Brandt stopped the bleeding of the seven-run sixth for the Beavers and gave up two hits with two strikeouts.
Seth Miller came on to shut the door on the Beavers in the final 2.2 innings as the freshman followed up his day one win with a no-hit relief appearance and recorded his first save of his collegiate career.
Entering the NSIC Tournament, the Vikings ranked second in the NCAA Division II Central Region. With Augustana going 4-0 over the weekend, they are projected to host one of the two regional sites for the Central Region with Central Missouri being the top-ranked team entering the weekend.
Central Missouri lost one game on their way to the MIAA Conference Championship, so there is a possibility that Augustana could vault over them for the number one seed. The NCAA Division II Selection Show airs tonight at 8 PM Central and regionals begin on Thursday.