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April 20, 2010

2010 Season - Augustana hangs on for 4-3 win over Loras

MOLINE, Ill.—Augustana right fielder Mike Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.; now resides in Marina del Rey, Calif.) cut down the potential tying run at the plate in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday night, preserving a 4-3 win over the Loras Duhawks. With the win, the Vikings are now 19-9 on the year.

With the Vikings clinging to a 4-3 lead, senior Mike Pagano (Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) came on in relief to start the ninth. He got Mike Canevello to ground to Dave Hoffman (Cary-Grove HS, Fox River Grove, Ill.) at second leading off the inning, but the Duhawks’ Ben Kuebel followed with a line single off of first baseman Nick Kujawa (Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.). Kuebel then stole second and when Clay Henricksen lined a single to right, tried to come around to score. However, Barker unleashed a perfect one-hop throw to catcher Jarl Dahlgren (Auburn HS, Rockford, Ill.) who applied the tag on Kuebel for the second out of the inning. Pagano then got John Schroeder to ground to Kujawa for the final out.

Loras got on the board first, touching Viking starter Ben Heaton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Heyworth, Ill.) for an unearned run in the top of the third. Kuebel reached on a one-out error and came around to score on Schroeder’s single to center.

Loras returned the favor in the bottom of the fourth, committing a pair of miscues that led to three Augustana unearned runs. Hoffman and Kujawa reached on back-to-back Duhawk errors to start the inning and freshman Jared McIntosh (Assumption HS, Davenport, Iowa) followed with a sacrifice bunt attempt so well placed that it went for a hit to load the bases. One out later Barker gave the Vikings the lead with a two-run single to right. Another well-placed bunt single—this one by Dahlgren—scored McIntosh with the third run of the inning.

Each team scored a run in the fifth. Loras scored in the top of the inning on a Schroeder sacrifice fly to right, cutting the Viking lead to 3-2. Augustana responded in the bottom when Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.) reached on a one-out infield hit and stole second. Hoffman followed with a fly to deep center that was hauled in by Austin Brown. However, the swift Schmidt never hesitated and scored all the way from second base on the play to make it 4-2, Augustana.

The Duhawks cut the lead to 4-3 with an unearned run off Heaton in the top of the sixth. Kyle Soeder reached on an error to start the inning and eventually scored on a Kevin Jachim ground out to second. Augustana avoided further damage when third baseman Joe Cecchi (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) fielded Derek Bergen’s grounder and gunned down the potential tying run at the plate. Bergen then stole second but was thrown out by Viking centerfielder Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) trying to advance to third, ending the inning.

Mike Trotta (Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) came on in relief of Heaton to start the seventh and held the Duhawks scoreless for two innings before yielding to Pagano in the ninth.

Heaton worked six innings, allowing five hits and two walks while fanning five. Just one of the three runs he gave up was earned. He got the win to improve to 2-0 on the year. Pagano recorded his first save of the season. Kujawa and Barker each had a pair of hits. Duhawk starter David Nowaczyk fell to 0-2 with the loss despite allowing just one earned run in 7 1/3 innings of work.

The Vikings travel to Lisle, Illinois on Wednesday, April 21, to face Benedictine in a 7:00 p.m. contest.