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March 19, 2010

2010 Season - Erickson gem keys 5-1 win over Ripon

Senior Matt Erickson (Marmion Academy, Channahon, Ill.) went the distance and the offense bunched just enough hits to allow Augustana to record a 5-1 victory over Ripon on Friday, March 19 at Chain-o-Lakes Park in Winter Haven, Florida. The Vikings, ranked 24th in NCAA Division III, upped their record to 9-0 with the win while the Red Hawks dropped to 6-4.

Erickson, who did not have a decision yet this spring in two previous starts, was masterful in compiling his complete game. He went the full nine innings and struck out 12 while walking just one. He scattered seven hits, with five of those coming in the first four innings. He struck out the final two batters to end the game and four of his last five outs were strikeouts.

Erickson and Ripon starter Kurt Roeder hooked up in a dandy pitching matchup and through five innings the game was knotted at 1-1. The Red Hawks nicked Erickson for a single run in the bottom of the third when shortstop Zach Bayrenther singled to lead things off, went to second on a sacrifice and came home on a two out single to right field off the bat of centerfielder Bryant Bullock. That would be the lone Ripon run of the game.

The Vikings answered in the top of the fifth when sophomore centerfielder Mike Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo. – now resides in Marina del Ray, Calif.) doubled down the left field line with two outs. He scored on a single to right off the bat of sophomore leftfielder Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.).

In the top of the sixth Augustana finally got to Roeder. Freshman designated hitter Tyler Wilson (Valparaiso HS, Valparaiso, Ind.) singled to left center to get things started. He went to second on a sacrifice from freshman first baseman Nick Kujawa (Carl Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.). Senior catcher Jarl Dahlgren (Auburn HS, Rockford, Ill.) has hit by a pitch and junior right fielder Mike Lamb (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) singled to left but Wilson stopped at third and Kujawa at second to load the bases. That brought up sophomore second baseman Joe Moran (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.). He ripped a double into the left-center field gap that scored Kujawa and Dahlgren but Lamb was cut down at the plate on a nice relay throw from Ripon’s Bayrenther. Barker was the next batter and he hit a slow roller that was thrown away, allowing Moran to score to make it 4-1.

That was all Erickson needed although the Vikings did tack on an insurance run in the top of the ninth. With two out Serna singled to left and went to second on a wild pitch. Freshman shortstop Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.) singled to left center to drive in Serna.

Augustana managed 10 hits off Roeder and reliever Bob Bruce with six of them coming in the fifth and sixth innings when the Vikings scored four of their five runs. The Blue & Gold will be in action on Saturday, March 20 against Fontbonne in a 9:30 contest at Chain-o-Lakes Park.