No. 1 Augustana opens season with split to Lindenwood

ARKADELPHIA, ARK. -- The No. 1 Augustana baseball team opened up the 2019 season with a road trip further South than they had first planned. The Vikings split a doubleheader with the Lindenwood Lions on Sunday afternoon in Arkadelphia, Ark. The Vikings dropped the first game 5-1, while the bats awakened in game two for a 12-3 victory.

In game one, Connor Herd took the hill as the starter for the Vikings and after giving up an early run, settled in to pitch three and one-third scoreless innings. Herd allowed only one hit, with three walks, and three strikeouts on the day. Michael Svozil drove in the sole Viking run with an RBI groundout that drove in JT Mix in the bottom of the fifth.

Lindenwood scored four runs in the top of the seventh to seal the game at 5-1.

In game two, the Augustana bats came alive as the Vikings recorded 13 hits on the game and scored 12 runs. Max Steffens started game two and gave up just one run in four innings of work. The Vikings started off the game's scoring in the top of the fourth inning when Jordan Barth roped a solo home run to put Augustana up 1-0.

Lindenwood tied up the game in the bottom of the fourth, but the Vikings quickly took back the lead with a huge five-run fifth inning. Peyton Zabel made his first appearance on the mound for the Vikings in the fifth inning and pitched two innings while allowing one earned run.

Tanner Brown relieved Zabel in the seventh with the bases loaded and escaped only allowing one run. Augustana added two-run innings in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings to put up the last six of their 12 runs.

Highlighting the Vikings in game two were Barth, Riley Johnson, and Will Olson. Barth put together a four-for-five performance at the plate with one home run, two RBI, and three runs scored. Johnson was three-for-five with a double and a walk and Olson ended the game at two-for-four with two RBI and a walk.

Augustana's next series will be a three-game set against Drury and is scheduled for March 2-3 in Springfield, Mo.