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March 27, 2010

2010 Season - Vikings defeat Northland 5-2 in nine innings

MOLINE, Ill.—Melissa Nelson (West Aurora HS, Aurora, Ill.) blasted a two-run home run—her fourth of the year—to start the ninth inning and propel Augustana to 5-2 win over Northland Saturday at the Green Valley Sports Complex. The Vikings, who defeated Ripon earlier in the day, boost their record to 12-5 with their fourth straight win.

Nelson’s homer also scored Abbi Staples, who had started the inning at second base per tie-breaker rules. It gave Augustana a 3-1 lead and two batters later, Andi Walker connected on a double to left center that scored Christina Trojanowski (Evergreen Park HS, Evergreen Park, Ill.), who had reached on an infield hit, and Mallory Huml (Kaneland HS, Elburn, Ill.), who was pinch running for Stephanie Sarb (Lisle HS, Lisle, Ill.). Viking reliever Jackie Gill (Heyworth HS, Heyworth, Ill.) gave up an unearned run to Northland in the bottom of the ninth but left two runners stranded to secure the 5-2 win.

The Jills took the early lead with a run off Viking starter Rachel Perry (Illinois Valley Central HS, Chillicothe, Ill.) in the bottom of the first. Margaret Koosman’s single drove in Kylie Garing, who had drawn a walk.

The game settled into a pitchers’ duel as both Perry and her Northland counterpart, Brittany Schmitt, got locked in. The Vikings managed just four base runners—on three hits and a Northland error—through the game’s first five innings while the Jills went down in order in the second and third innings. Perry pitched out of a jam in the fourth with the help of Nelson, whose throw from left cut down Northland runner Asia DeVlaeminck at the plate.

Gill came on to relieve Perry in the bottom of the fifth and retired the Jills in order and in the top of the sixth, Augustana was finally able to dent the scoreboard with the tying run. Chrissy Rosin (Niles West HS, Morton Grove, Ill.) and Dawn Kernich (Mt. Olive HS, Mt. Olive, Ill.) got things started with back-to-back bunt singles. Karlee Quaritsch (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.) moved the runners over with a sacrifice and after Brittany Snoreck (Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.) was hit by a pitch, Nelson’s fly ball to right field scored Rosin to tie the game at 1-1.

Schmitt led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, but Gill left her stranded on third to end the inning. Both teams went down in order in the seventh, sending the contest to extra innings. Each team threatened but left two runners stranded in the eight, setting up the Vikings’ four-run outburst in the top of the ninth.

Gill went the final five innings, allowing just two singles and one unearned run to get the win and improve to 3-2 on the year. She fanned two and walked none. Perry also threw well in her second start of the season, going the first four innings and allowing just three hits and one run.

Offensively, Augustana’s eight hits were spread among eight different players. Five different Vikings each scored a run as well, with Nelson driving in three and Walker two.

The Vikings continue play at the Green Valley complex on Sunday, March 28 with games against Wittenberg at 9:00 a.m. and Wisconsin-River Falls at 3:00 p.m.