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March 18, 2010

2010 Season - 24th ranked Vikings stay undefeated

A consistent offense, especially in the middle of the lineup and a tremendous relief outing from sophomore Josiah Martin (Canton HS, Canton, Ill.) helped Augustana stay undefeated in baseball action. The Vikings, ranked 24th in the latest D3baseball.com poll, defeated St. Norbert 16-6 on Thursday, March 18 at the Lake Myrtle Main diamond in Auburndale, Florida. With the victory, which came over a Knights’ team that was an NCAA Division III tournament selection a year ago, Augustana moved to 8-0 on the season.

Senior Mike Pagano (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) picked up the victory to move to 3-0 on the year. He was the starter and worked the first five innings before giving way to Martin. Martin worked the final two innings in the contest, which was shortened to seven innings (from a scheduled nine) because of the 10-run rule. Pagano struck out five, walked two and gave up six hits in his stint. He allowed all six of the St. Norbert runs but two of those were unearned.

Martin replaced Pagano after a three run home run off the bat of third baseman Garrick Fisher in the top of the sixth inning trimmed what had been a comfortable 9-2 lead to 9-6. There were no outs when Martin entered the game but he faced just seven batters over the next two innings and struck out two in the process.

The three, four and five hitters in the Augustana lineup combined for six hits in 11 at-bats with six runs scored and four runs-batted-in. Junior third baseman Dave Hoffman (Cary-Grove HS, Fox River Grove, Ill.) went two for four with a run scored and two RBI. Freshman designated hitter Tyler Wilson (Valparaiso HS, Valparaiso, Ind.) was two for three with three runs scored, two RBI and two walks while freshman first baseman Nick Kujawa (Carl Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.) had two hits, two runs scored, a walk and a double.

Sophomore leftfielder Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) was impressive from his leadoff spot with three this in four at-bats with two runs scored and four RBI. He had a double, a triple and a walk.

The Vikings put up single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead before St. Norbert scored a pair of unearned runs off Pagano in the top of the fourth to tie things at 2-2. In the bottom of the fourth the Vikings scored five runs to go ahead 7-2. Four of the five runs off Knights’ starter Trevin Hillesheim in the inning were unearned. Kujawa led off with a double and junior catcher T.J. O’Donnell (New Trier HS, Northbrook, Ill.) was hit by a pitch. Mike Lamb’s (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) sacrifice bunt moved Kujawa to third and O’Donnell to second. Sophomore second baseman Joe Moran (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) followed with a single that scored Kujawa to make it 3-2. O’Donnell went to third on the play. After a ground out for the second out of the inning, Serna walked to load the bases. Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.) hit a ground ball that was misplayed for an error, allowing O’Donnell to scamper home with the fourth run of the game and keep the bases loaded. Hoffman walked to drive in Moran and Wilson followed with a single that brought home Serna and Schmidt to make it 7-2.

Pagano got a double play and a strikeout in the fifth and in the bottom of the inning Lamb reached on a dropped third strike, stole second and scored on a single to left by sophomore centerfielder Mike Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo. – now resides in Marina delRay, Calif.). Barker scampered home on Serna’s two out double that hugged the left field line.

The score was 9-2 when Pagano ran into trouble in the sixth. He was chased from the mound after Fisher’s three run blast to right field made it 9-6. Martin got out of any more trouble and the Vikings’ offense went back to work.

In the bottom of the sixth Serna’s two out triple with the bases loaded capped a four run inning and put Augustana back in front 13-6. The game ended in the seventh when Moran doubled with Wilson and Lamb on base to make it 16-6.

The Vikings will play Ripon on Friday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. at Chain of Lakes Field in Winter Haven.