Augustana stuns Central Regional host Central Missouri
Vikings a win away from Super Regional after 4-2 victory
WARRENBURG, MO (Dakota News Now) - Behind seven strong innings from Caleb Saari, Augustana baseball defeated No. 4 Central Missouri 4-2 in game two of the NCAA Central Regional. The Vikings move ahead to Sunday where they will look to advance to the NCAA Super Regional.
Augustana improves to 44-18 on the season while the central region’s top-seed falls to 42-14.
It was a scoreless game through five innings of action with both teams logging just two hits each. The sixth inning saw the gates open for Augustana as all four runs were scored in the frame.
With two runners on, Jack Hines hit a single to center field that saw Parker Mooney and Drey Dirksen cross the plate, pushing AU ahead 2-0. Hines was then brought home on a Luke Ballweg double to right field. A bunt single by Ragan Pinnow plated Ballweg for the fourth run of the game.
The Mules responded in the top of the seventh with an RBI single, making it a 4-1 game.
In the top of the ninth frame, Central Missouri narrowed the gap with a single run but fell short in a late rally attempt.
At the plate, Ballweg, Pinnow and Tate Meiners totaled two hits apiece. Ballweg logged two doubles while Pinnow followed with one.
Caleb Saari got the start on the mound for AU and pitched seven innings in the gem. The First Team All-NSIC selection struck out five while holding UCM to just four hits for the win. Ashton Michek entered the game in the eighth inning and struck out one batter. Earning his nation-leading 14th save of the season was Adam Diedrich who spent one inning on the hill and struck out one batter.
The Vikings move on to Sunday and will find out their opponent following tomorrow’s matchups. First pitch on Sunday is slated for noon. The Saturday contests begin with St. Cloud State facing Ouachita Baptist at noon. The winner of that game faces Central Missouri in the night cap. The Vikings will get the winner of that night contest.
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