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Augie clinches NSIC title and USF advances to playoffs

Vikings win regular season title and Cougars earn spot in NSIC Tournament
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 11:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -The Augustana Vikings won their 44th straight home game to clinch the NSIC regular season title with a 3-2 win over St. Cloud. The Huskies then snapped Augie’s 22 game win streak and 44-game home winning streak with an 8-1 win.

And the USF Cougars swept Crookston 6-3 and 13-3 to advance to the post season tournament starting Thursday in Rochester, MN where they will play SMSU at 10am.

Here are the recaps.

Courtesy Augustana Athletics

It was a range of emotions on Monday as the Augustana softball team clinched the 2022 NSIC Championship but also saw a pair of the nation’s longest streaks end in a split with St. Cloud State. After topping SCSU 3-2 in game one, the Vikings fell in game two, 8-1.

That ended the nation’s longest winning streak at 22 games and the nation’s longest home winning streak at 44 games. Those totals were also the longest across all three NCAA divisions.

However, the game one win granted Augustana the outright NSIC Championship for the second-straight year. The conference title was the fifth from the NSIC and 14th all-time. Augustana ends the 2022 regular season with a 43-8 overall record and 27-3 NSIC mark. St. Cloud State ends its regular season 35-16, 23-7.

Game One: No. 12 Augustana 3, St. Cloud State 2

A first-inning home run from Torri Chute was the offense for Augustana in the 3-2 win. Liz Dierks and Abby Lien reached base on a single and a walk, respectively, to set up Chute. The 12th home run of the year from Chute bounced off the fence labeled 275 feet to give AU the 3-0 lead.

It was cruise control for Ashley Mickschl until the fifth inning when two unearned runs scored for SCSU. It was then a quick sixth and seventh innings to claim the win, sealing the NSIC Championship.

Mickschl picked up her 19th win of the season while striking out seven in the complete-game effort.

Augustana recorded seven hits in the game, led by Dierks with two.

Game Two: St. Cloud State 8, Augustana 1

The Vikings’ offense sputtered as St. Cloud State plated three runs in the first and three runs in the fourth, with an additional two insurance runs in the seventh.

Augustana got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the third inning as Abby Lien connected on a home run into right field. However, that was all the offense Augustana would see crossing home plate in the loss.

The Vikings tallied six hits in the game with two from Gracey Brink. The other hits in the lineup came from Liz Dierks, Kennedy Buckman, Abbie Lund and the home run from Lien.

Up Next

Augustana is the No. 1 overall seed in the NSIC Tournament slated to begin Thursday. Augustana will play at 2 p.m. in Rochester, Minnesota, against the lowest seed after the play-in games: No. 8 Southwest Minnesota State, No. 9 Sioux Falls or No. 10 Wayne State.

Courtesy USF Athletics

The University of Sioux Falls softball team came away with the sweep in Monday’s doubleheader at Sherman Park with a Game 1 score of 6-3 and Game 2 score of 13-1.

Game 1: UMC 3, USF 6 The Cougars came away with a come from behind victory in game one by a score of 6-3. USF got on the board in the bottom of the 1st inning after a Kylan Straight walk and stolen base, followed by a Reese Holzhueter RBI double to left center field to make it 1-0. UM-Crookston was kept scoreless until the third inning when they brought across three runs to take a 3-1 lead heading to the 5th inning. In the bottom of the 5th inning, Kylan Straight began the inning with a single, followed by a red hot Kait Van Der Zwaag who hit a two-run blast to tie the game at 3-3. Freshman Reese Holzhueter followed up Kait with a double to right field, followed by a Kennedy Thomas single. Rylie Jones did her part as she hit a sacrifice fly to center field, to make it 4-3 for the Cougars after 5 innings of play.

Hanna Cress made quick work in the top half of the 6th inning and the Cougars added some insurance runs which started with singles by Freshman Taryn Wagner and Senior Kylan Straight getting on base. Kait Van Der Zwaag came up to the plate and smashed her 2nd home run of the game and fourth HR in two days for the Cougars. Cress finished the job in the top of the 7th inning, ending the game by a score of 6-3.

The Cougars finished with thirteen hits on the day led by Kylan Straight with three, followed by Kait Van Der Zwaag, Reese Holzhueter and Kylie Madrid with two hits apiece, and Megan Lawson, Kennedy Thomas, Rylie Jones and Taryn Wagner each with one hit on the day.

From the circle, Hanna Cress picked up the victory with a complete game, surrendering five hits, two earned runs, one walk, and struck out eight UMC hitters on the day.

Game 2: UMC 1, USF 13 USF picked up a win in Game 2 of the doubleheader by a score of 13-1 on Monday afternoon in five innings. The first inning has been kind to the Cougars as of late this season.

Kylan Straight started things off with a bunt single in the top of the 1st inning, followed by a Kait Van Der Zwaag walk, and a Kennedy Thomas fielder’s choice brought across Kylan Straight for the first run of the ball game. Senior Kylie Madrid hit a single up the middle, scoring Kennedy Thomas and Kait Van Der Zwaag to make it 3-0 after one inning. The second inning, the Cougars hot bats continued as Taryn Wagner started the inning with a single, followed by a single by Kylan Straight to put the pressure on the Eagles defense.

Megan Lawson added another two-RBI single, scoring both Wagner and Straight to make it 5-1 for USF. Kait Van Der Zwaag took a hit by pitch, and Lexie Swift added a two-run RBI double to extend the lead to 7-1 for the Cougars through two innings of play. The third inning, USF continued to swing the sticks as Taryn Wagner and Megan Lawson started things off with singles. Danielle Klenke came to the plate with an RBI double of her own, followed by a sacrifice fly by Kait Van Der Zwaag to extend the lead to 9-1 for the Cougars. Kennedy Thomas wrapped up the inning with an RBI single of her own, scoring Danielle Klenke to make it 11-1 after the 3rd inning. The fourth inning came around and Kylie Madrid started off the inning with a single, followed by a Damaris Cuevas walk, and Megan Lawson’s RBI double to bring home Madrid to make it 12-1 for USF. Danielle Klenke reached by error, advancing Lawson to 3rd base and Kait Van Der Zwaag kept her hot streak going as she hit an RBI single, scoring Lawson to make it 13-1. UMC scored two runs in the top of the 5th inning and the Cougars Kennedy Thomas shut the door with the run-rule victory by a score of 13-1 for USF.

The Cougars finished with fourteen hits on the day led by Megan Lawson and Kylie Madrid with three base knocks, followed by Kylan Straight and Taryn Wagner with two hits each and Danielle Klenke, Kait Van Der Zwaag, Kennedy Thomas and Lexie Swift each with one hit on the day.

From the circle, Kait Van Der Zwaag picked up the victory, pitching four innings, surrendering three hits, one earned run, three strikeouts and zero walks. Kennedy Thomas came in for the final inning, surrendering three hits, giving up two runs, and striking out one UMC hitter on the day.

Up Next

USF Softball had the regular season wrap up today and the NSIC tournament is next starting Thursday in Rochester,MN where the Cougars will play SMSU at 10am.

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