FAYETTE, Iowa (AUGUSTANA) — The No. 19-ranked Augustana baseball team swept the Upper Iowa Peacocks in Friday afternoon’s doubleheader with scores of 8-2 and 8-3. The Vikings also captured their 30th win of the season and move to 30-9 overall and 26-9 within the conference.
Reigning NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week Ryan Jares got the start for the Vikings in game one and was solid. The sophomore earned the victory, going 5.2 innings while surrendering six hits and one earned run with five strikeouts. Freshman righty Caleb Kranz relieved Jares with 1.1 innings of scoreless ball with two strikeouts.
Jares’ second strikeout of the day was also the 400th overall strikeout this season for the Vikings, a mark that has been reached just four times in program history. The 2021 pitching staff only needed 38 games to reach 400, making the feat all the more impressive.
The Vikings scored in five out of the seven innings in game one and started with a two-spot in the top of the first. Sophomore outfielder Carter Howell hit a ground-rule double to start the contest and freshman infielder Max Mosser followed with a single. Howell then came around to score on a sacrifice fly from junior infielder Jordan Barth and Mosser came around on an RBI single from junior catcher Will Olson.
Junior infielder JT Mix earned an RBI groundout in the top of the second and junior outfielder Jaxon Rosencranz scored on a passed ball in the top of the fourth for a 4-0 Augustana lead.
After Upper Iowa pushed a run across in the bottom of the fourth, the Vikings put the game out of reach with two runs each in the top of the fifth and sixth innings.
Mosser singled to start the fifth followed by a Barth double. Mosser then scored on Olson’s second RBI single of the game and Barth later scored on a groundout. Up 6-1, Howell singled to left-center in the top of the sixth, driving in two Augustana runs and pushing the advantage to 8-1.
The Peacocks were able to scratch a run across in the bottom of the sixth, making the final score 8-2.
At the plate, Rosencranz and Mosser each had three hits, Howell, Barth and Olson had two hits apiece and senior infielder Christian Kuzemka and freshman infielder Tate Meiners each had one.
Senior righty Max Steffens got the nod on the mound for the Vikings in game two and delivered another quality start. The senior went six innings and gave up zero earned runs, surrendered just five hits and struck out six.
Augustana took control of game two early, scoring three times in the top of the second, once in the top of the third and twice in the top of the fourth, building a 6-0 lead that endured throughout the contest.
In the top of the second, the Vikings scored on an RBI walk from senior outfielder Riley Johnson, a sacrifice fly from Mix and a run from an Upper Iowa error. Up 3-0, Kuzemka drove in a run with a single in the top of the third for a 4-0 lead.
After a Mix double to right-center to lead off the top of the fourth, Howell launched his eighth home run of the year, a two-run shot that put the Vikings up 6-0.
The Peacocks tallied a run in the bottom half of the sixth inning, however, Augustana countered with a two-run double off the bat of Rosencranz in the top of the seventh to take an 8-1 lead.
Upper Iowa was then able to push two runs across in the bottom of the seventh to cut the lead to 8-3. Scoreless relief appearances from junior righty Thomas Bruss and junior lefty Jed Schmidt kept the Peacock bats at bay, bringing the final score to 8-3.
Olson tallied the only multi-hit game for Augustana in game two with Howell, Mosser, Kuzemka, Rosencranz, Mix and senior infielder Darek Bornemeier all notching one.
The Vikings and Peacocks square off in the series finale Sunday at noon to conclude the regular season.