SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AUGUSTANA) — No. 11 Augustana baseball defeated the Winona State Warriors 12-4 in AU’s second game of the NSIC tournament to move on to the semifinal matchup.
The Vikings were backed by six home runs in the nine-inning game, tying the school record for most home runs in a single season with 74. The Vikings are holding down the No. 2 spot in the third central region rankings and the No. 11 spot in the NCBWA Top-25.
The game spanned two days as a severe storm halted the game in the fourth inning on Thursday.
Caleb Saari started the game on the mound for AU on Thursday, logging four strikeouts in four innings. Caleb Kranz entered the game in the fifth inning on Friday, striking out five batters and earning the win. Kranz now holds a record of 2-0 this season. Josh Olson took over for Kranz in the ninth inning, recording one strikeout to finish the game.
The Vikings pitching staff has amassed over 500 strikeouts in a single season for just the third time in program history. The total for this season now sits at 508.
Winona State was the first team to add runs to the board in the second inning, scoring two to take an early lead.
In the third inning, Augustana plated four runs, starting with Luke Ballweg’s run after Max Mosser reached base on a throwing error. Jordan Barth hit a three-run homer scoring Mosser and Drey Dirksen to give Augustana its first lead of the game.
Prior to the start of the game, Barth had tied the career RBI record at 211 and was able to break the record with three RBI, bringing his career total to 215.
Luke Ballweg tallied the second home run of the game in the fourth inning, putting the Vikings up 5-2. The game was halted in the bottom of the fourth inning due to inclement weather in the area and resumed on Friday morning.
The Vikings totaled two runs in the fifth inning with two solo home runs. Barth notched his second homer of the game and JT Mix sent the ball deep over the left field fence and AU’s lead improved to 7-2.
A solo home run from Winona State in the sixth inning changed the score to 7-3.
In the seventh inning, Will Olson knocked out the Vikings’ fifth long ball of the game, bringing Carter Howell in to score. A single from Jaxon Rosencranz sent Mix home and Augustana led 10-3 after seven full innings.
Mosser hit his second homer of the season in the 8th inning, scoring Dirksen and solidifying the victory for the Vikings.
WSU added one more run in the ninth inning, but it wasn’t enough to send the game to extra innings.
With six home runs in the victory, the 2022 Vikings set the new school record of 74 team home runs in a single season.
Olson tallied two hits in the game and Howell, Barth, Ballweg and Dirksen each added two.
Augustana has notched a spot in the semifinal game of the NSIC tournament and will face the winner of the St. Cloud State/Minot State matchup on Saturday at First National Bank Field. First pitch is slated for 11 a.m.