Augustana baseball advances to NSIC Tournament Championship game

ST. CLOUD, Minn. -- The No. 16 Augustana baseball team (39-14) advanced in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Tournament on Saturday with a comeback victory over number three seed and No. 15 St. Cloud State (40-11) in the third day of action in St. Cloud, Minn.

In the first inning, the Huskies got on the board in the first inning on a pair of hits to go up 1-0. Augustana's streak of 11 games scoring in the first inning ended as the Vikings put runners on the corners in the first, but could not score a run. The second and third innings were scoreless by each team.

St. Cloud State added another run in the top of the fourth to go up 2-0, but the lead did not last long, as Augustana got on the board in the fourth inning and put up three runs to take the lead. The scoring was kicked off by Sam Baier as he drove an RBI single. Michael Svozil followed up with an RBI single of his own and JT Mix drove in the final run of the inning on a sacrifice fly.

In the top of the fifth inning, the Huskies reclaimed the lead by scoring three of their own for a 5-3 lead. In the bottom half of the inning, Jordan Barth cut the lead to just one when he smashed a home run to left field.

Two more runs came across for the Vikings in the sixth inning when Barth and Baier recorded RBIs. Barth drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and Baier walked home Riley Johnson. Augustana added three runs in the seventh as Will Olson ripped a two-RBI single to score Johnson and Mix. Ryan Nickel capped the inning with an RBI single that scored Barth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Svozil went yard for the third time this season and his fourth homer in his Augustana career to put the Vikings up 10-5. St. Cloud came up short in the final inning and Thomas Bruss closed out the game by striking out the final batter.

At the plate, four Augustana batters recorded two-RBI games as Svozil, Barth, Olson, and Baier put up two RBI each. Five Vikings recorded at least two hits in Svozil, Johnson, Barth, Nickel, and Baier.

On the mound, Max Steffens had an uncharacteristic game by his standards, as he allowed five earned runs. The NSIC Pitcher of the Year still outlasted St. Cloud State's Shelden Miks to record his ninth win of the season. Ryan Helgeson came on in relief to begin the seventh inning and allowed just one hit before Bruss entered the game to pitch two innings and struck out two.

Next Up

Augustana will take on the winner of St. Cloud State and Minot State at 10:00 AM in St. Cloud, Minn. at Joe Faber Field. The Vikings need to win just one-of-two games tomorrow to be crowned the NSIC Championships.