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March 25, 2010

2010 Season - Defense costs Augustana in first loss

MOLINE, Ill.—Five errors and some missed scoring opportunities early cost Augustana as Aurora defeated the Vikings 6-2 at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field Thursday night. 11th-ranked Augustana suffered its first loss of the season, falling to 12-1. Pitcher Dan McCarthy went the distance for Aurora, who improved to 6-5.

Anthony Amedei led off the game with a double to left off Augustana’s Josiah Martin (Canton HS, Canton, Ill.), who was making his first start of the season after five impressive relief appearances. After Bobby Wilson moved Amedei to third with a ground out to second, Tony Wellner brought him home with a ground out to short for a 1-0 Aurora lead.

The Vikings, who threatened repeatedly early in the game, loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the first. However, McCarthy got out of the inning when the Vikings’ Tyler Wilson (Valparaiso HS, Valparaiso, Ind.) was doubled off first on Nick Kujawa’s (Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.) liner to short.

Augustana took a 2-1 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. Dave Hoffman’s (Cary-Grove HS, Fox River Grove, Ill.) bases-loaded single with no one out scored Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows, Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Mike Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.; now resides in Marina Del Ray, Calif.), but that was all the Vikings would muster, as they left runners on second and third to end the inning.

The Vikings missed another golden opportunity in the fourth, loading the bases again, this time with one out. However, Kurt Schmidt’s (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.) sharply-hit grounder struck Barker between second and third, creating a dead ball which sent base runner Joe Cecchi (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) back to third base. McCarthy then induced Hoffman to hit a comebacker to get out of the inning unscathed.

After Aurora’s Matt Mulvaney doubled to lead off the top of the fifth, the Spartans used a pair of Viking errors and two softly-hit singles to retake the lead, 3-2. The inning could have been worse, but Martin, who took the tough-luck loss to fall to 3-1 on the year, got the final two outs of the inning leaving the bases full of Spartans.

Aurora broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth a leadoff bunt single and another Viking error set the table for Wellner, who sent a Martin pitch over the left field fence to make it 6-2. That would be the end of Martin’s night. Just two of the six runs he allowed were earned. Kevin Kulig (Benet Academy, Lemont, Ill.) came on in relief and ended the inning with no further damage.

McCarthy, meanwhile, had locked into a rhythm and finished the night by retiring the last 13 batters he faced. Serna’s foul out to right fielder Joe Singraber ending the game was the only ball the Vikings hit out of the infield in the final four innings. McCarthy improved to 3-0 with the win. He allowed Augustana just four singles, two of which belonged to Hoffman.

Next up for the Vikings is a home date on Saturday, March 27. Buena Vista comes to Swanson Stadium/ Brunner Field for a 3:00 p.m. contest.