DULUTH, Minn. — The Augustana baseball team won its fourth and fifth games in a row with a Tuesday afternoon sweep at the Bulldogs of Minnesota Duluth. The Vikings move to 15-4 overall and 11-4 within the NSIC. The Vikings won game one 10-2 and game two 13-4.
Senior lefty Koby Bishop got the start for the Vikings in game one and went the distance in the seven-inning affair. Bishop allowed just two runs on seven hits throughout the game and struck out eight Duluth hitters. He moves to 3-1 on the season with 29 strikeouts in 21.2 innings pitched.
Augustana scored in five-of-seven innings in game one and notched two in the top of the first.
Sophomore outfielder Carter Howell took a hit-by-pitch to lead off the game, stole a base and advanced to third when senior outfielder Riley Johnson reached on an error. After a wild pitch scored Howell, Johnson came around for the 2-0 lead on an RBI single from senior infielder Chrisitan Kuzemka.
In the top of the second, Howell smoked an RBI double for a 3-0 Viking lead. The Bulldogs quickly got that run back with an RBI single in the bottom of the third before Augustana took control with a four-run frame in the fourth inning.
Up 3-1 in the fourth, junior catcher Will Olson was hit by a pitch and junior outfielder Jaxon Rosencranz singled to set the table. With two outs and Olson and Rosencranz in scoring position, Howell singled to left field to drive in both runs and push the lead to 5-1. After a Howell steal of second base, junior infielder Jordan Barth drove him in with a single and advanced to second on the throw. Johnson then singled in Barth for the 7-1 lead.
In the top of the fifth, sophomore utility man Tony Lanier drove in a run with a fielder’s choice. After a Kuzemka leadoff home run in the seventh inning, Lanier scored the final run for Augustana on a fielder’s choice to push the lead to 10-1.
Duluth scratched a run across in the seventh, before Bishop put the finishing touches on the 10-2 victory.
Offensively, Kuzemka and Howell paced the Vikings with three hits apiece. Kuzemka scored twice and drove in two with the aforementioned homer while Howell doubled, scored twice, drove in three and stole two bags.
Barth and Rosencranz also tallied multi-hit games while Johnson (who also stole two bases), Olson and Lanier finished with one hit apiece.
Kuzemka and Howell stayed red-hot at the plate in game two, leading the way in an 18-hit, 13-run outburst for the Vikings.
Down 1-0 in the top of the second, sophomore Mitch Stroh tied things up with an RBI double down the left-field line. After scoring in the second and third innings, the Bulldogs took a 4-1 lead over the Vikings, a lead that evaporated rather quickly, starting in the top of the fourth.
After Kuzemka walked and stole second, Lanier smoked an RBI double to right-center to cut the lead in half. Lanier later came around to score on an RBI groundout from Stroh to make the score 4-3 in favor of Duluth.
In the top half of the fifth, Barth and Johnson reached second and third base on some sloppy Bulldog defense. Senior shortstop Sam Baier then tied the game with a double to center field. Baier and Johnson proceeded to score on a Kuzemka RBI single, giving the Vikings a 6-4 lead, one they would not surrender the rest of the game.
After a Lanier single, freshman catcher Drey Dirksen doubled for the fourth-straight Viking hit, driving in Kuzemka and Lanier and pushing the lead to 8-4. Howell doubled in Dirksen later in the inning for the sixth run scored in the frame and a 9-4 Viking lead.
Up 9-4 in the top of the sixth, Biaer led the inning off with a triple and came around to score on an RBI single from Kuzemka. Kuzemka later scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Stroh, his third RBI of the day.
Up 11-4 in the top of the seventh, Howell doubled down the right field line followed by a Baier single. Both came around to score on a two-run RBI triple off the bat of Johnson moving the score to 13-4 which was the final.
Overall, the Vikings tallied 18 hits: three off the bats of Kuzemka, Howell and Johnson, two apiece from Lanier, Baier and Dirksen and one apiece from Barth, Stroh and freshman infielder Max Mosser.
On the mound, junior righty Evan Furst earned the victory with 1.2 innings of scoreless relief. Freshman righty Caleb Kranz also threw 1.2 scoreless while Lanier and junior righty Thomas Bruss tossed scoreless frames to close out the game.
The Vikings take on the Marauders of UMary this weekend in a three-game series. Saturday’s doubleheader starts at 1:30 p.m. while Sunday’s game starts at noon.
— GoAugie.com —