Augustana baseball rallies to earn a spot in Central Region Championship

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Top-seed Augustana fell behind early in Friday's Central Regional I Tournament semifinal, but put up crooked numbers in two innings to secure a spot in the tournament finals on Saturday with a 9-4 win over No. 5 seed Arkansas-Monticello.

The Vikings improve to 42-14 with the win, and advance to the tournament finals on Saturday at noon, while the Boll Weevils fall to 34-15, and play either No. 4 seed Minnesota State or No. 8 seed Oklahoma Baptist in an elimination game on Friday at 6 p.m.

The Boll Weevils cracked the scoreboard first, getting a fielder's choice RBI to take a short-lived 1-0 lead, as the Vikings came right back with a three spot in their half of the third.

Augustana got a pair of walks and a single to load the bases, and then got RBI singles from Riley Johnson and Jordan Barth, along with a sacrifice fly from Will Olson go up 3-1. This lead did not last either, as the Boll Weevils tied it up at 3-3 in bottom of the frame on a Jordan Johnson two-run homer to right, and then retook the lead at 4-3 in the fourth on a Grant Shepherd RBI double in the fourth.

Still 4-3 into the sixth inning, Augustana batted around, scoring four runs in the process to take a 7-4 lead. A Nate Crossman sacrifice fly scored Olson to tie the game at 4-4. The Vikings added RBI singles from Sam Baier, Michael Svozil and Ryan Nickel in the inning to take a 7-4 after five and a half innings.

The score remained 7-4 into the ninth, when Olson added some insurance with a no-doubt two-run blast over the fence in left that scored Barth to put the Vikings up 9-4.

Svozil, Nickel, Johnson, Barth and Olson, the first five batters in the Augie lineup, along with Baier in the seven hole, finished with two hits and one RBI, except for Olson who drove in three.

Tanner Brown picked up the win for the Vikings in relief to improve to 7-1 on the season. He gave up three runs on three hits over seven innings, with seven strikeouts and two walks.

As a team, the Boll Weevils combined for four hits, 11 strikeouts and three walks in the loss.