SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Stepping on the diamond in their first top 25 conference matchup of the season, the No. 12 Augustana softball team battled in back-to-back games, but ultimately fell short in a pair of losses. No. 21 Winona State held on a 9-7 win in game one and took game two with a 6-5 victory. Augustana moves to 32-7 (12-2 NSIC) on the year.
Moments that mattered:
• Augustana scored six runs in the final three innings to nearly complete a game-one comeback. The seven total Viking runs scored is the most allowed this year from WSU.
• Maggie Dunnett finished game one 3-3 with 3 RBI, which was her team-high eighth home run this season.
• In game two, Olivia Wolters pitched four innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and recorded three strikeouts.
• Augustana scored three runs in the sixth inning to make it a one-run game.
• Three players had two or more hits, including Kara McDougall who finished with three RBI.
The visiting Warriors jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning, but the Viking starter Ashley Mickschl settled in moments later. Mickschl collected five strikeouts in the first three frames to keep the game close.
Moving to the 4th, the Viking offense came to life. Junior Kendall Cornick stepped in and crushed a solo home run to right center. Her fifth of the year made it a 3-1 game.
Mickschl worked through the 5th, surpassing her 100th strikeout of the season and picking up her NSIC-best 15th complete-game of the season.
The Vikings continued the comeback in the 5th. With a runner on, Maggie Dunnett stepped in and clubbed her team-high eighth home run of the year. The two-run shot made it a 5-3 game.
Winona State answered with a grand slam in the sixth, but the Vikings matched with four runs in the bottom of the frame. Samantha Eisenreich starting the scoring with an RBI double to left, Dunnett added on with her third RBI of the day, and Mary Pardo drove in two more with a two-run single.
Trailing 9-7 in the bottom of the seventh, the Vikings were able to get the tying run to the plate but couldn’t complete the comeback.
Pardo carried her momentum into game two, getting the Vikings on the board with a solo home run to center. The true freshman is now third on the team with six round-trippers this season.
Cornick also continued to rake as she hit a solo shot in the third to make it a 4-2 game. With a couple more hits today, Cornick is now third on the team with a .364 batting average and 22 RBI.
After Amber Elliott got the start, Olivia Wolters came into the game in the third frame. The Junior pitched four innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and recorded three strikeouts.
Trailing 6-2 in the 6th, Augustana loaded the bases for Kara McDougall, and the Brookings native came through clutch with a three-run double. The Viking did get the winning run to the plate but were not able to push the runs across.
Augustana continues their eight-game homestand this weekend, welcoming in the University of Mary for a double-header on Saturday, and closing the weekend with a pair against Minot State. Game time is set for 12 p.m. at Bowden Field.