The Augustana College baseball team had so much to play for in this weekend's three-game CCIW set with Millikin. |
In a bunched and jumbled league race, the Vikings were among six teams still battling this weekend for either the league crown or a spot in next weekend's four-team tournament. And with the Vikings hosting one of the two teams not in the mix for either, a title chance was looming.
But after Mike Trotta gutted out a strong pitching performance in the 5-2 opening-game victory, the Big Blue battled back for a 12-5 victory in the nightcap, taking advantage of nine walks to win just their second road game of the season.
"It was like two different worlds there,'' said Augie coach Greg Wallace of the two pitching efforts.
With North Park (28-11, 13-7) taking two from North Central (20-17, 9-11), another contender, Augie's title chances were shot down. Still, the victory did secure the local club (25-14, 11-9) a spot in next weekend's tourney.
"That was disappointing, but we still have to come out and play (today),'' said Wallace of the his team's regular-season finale at 11 a.m. at the Swanson/Brunner complex. "What it looks like now is that we're in the conference tournament, so now we have to play (for a good seed) and get ourselves to the next week.''
While the Vikings fell short of the sweep, securing a tourney berth was still an accomplishment to be proud of.
"For the most part, we've played good baseball the last four or five weekends in the conference, winning every series,'' said Wallace. "It would have been nice to sweep a couple of those. But when you're sitting at 1-4 early in the (CCIW) season and battle back and have a chance the last weekend to possibly win it, you have to give the kids a lot of credit.''
A lot of credit also has to go to Trotta (7-1 in nine starts). Despite not having his most dominating stuff, he battled for seven innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) on eight hits. Josiah Martin pitched two scoreless innings of relief for his fifth save.
"I just wanted to help put my team in a position to win,'' said Trotta, talking about the team's possibilities at the start of the day. "I thought I did that today. My teammates were able to pick me up and scored some runs for me and we were able to win that first one.''
Augie played a solid opener, maximizing nine hits and smart baseball plays into the victory. Jacob VanDuyne, Kurt Schmidt and Kyle Lenihan all had two hits for Augie, with VanDuyne (on a bunt single), Grant Stewart (hard shot to short) and Jeremy Juhl and Kevin Serna (sac flies) tallying RBIs. Schmidt score Augie's other run on a double steal.
The nightcap, though, did not go as well. Augie was set down in order by Millikin starter Evan West (6-4) in the first four innings. By the time Augie batted in the fifth, it trailed 9-0 as the Big Blue (11-26, 6-14) erupted for six fifth-inning runs.
MU's Jared Dosien had the telling line of Game 2. In five plate appearances, the No. 6 hitter was 0-for-1 with four walks and four runs scored. The bottom five in Millikin's order accounted for six hits, nine runs and nine RBIs off five Augie pitchers.
Augie actually out-hit Millikin 11-9 in the nightcap with VanDuyne, Mike Barker, Stewart and Lenihan all with two safeties.
Colona, IL Details
|(More Print Ads)|