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May 4, 2011

2011 Season - Freshmen lead Vikings to sweep of Dubuque

Senior catcher T.J. O'Donnell had two hits in game one Wednesday and gunned a pair of runners on the bases in the final inning to preserve a 2-1 Viking win. He also went 1-for-2 in the second game as Augustana completed the sweep with an 8-6 win.

MOLINE, Ill.- Augustana rode the pitching of a pair of freshman lefties to doubleheader sweep of Dubuque Wednesday night at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field. In the first game, Matt Pisani (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.) went the distance in his first collegiate start as the Vikings prevailed 2-1. In the nightcap, Rob DiDomenico (Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.) worked 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win in his first varsity appearance as Augustana came away with an 8-6 victory. The Vikings are now 25-11 on the year.

Game One: Augustana 2, Dubuque 1

  The Spartans got on the board first in the opener. After the Vikings left runners stranded at second and third in the bottom of the second, Dubuque's Andrew Danna reached on a fielder's choice in the top of the third, stole second and came around to score on a Nicholas Martin single.

 Augustana evened the score off Spartan starter Elliot Visuri in the fourth. T.J. O'Donnell (New Trier HS, Northbrook, Ill.) drove a one-out double to the gap in left center and scored the tying run when Anthony Concialdi (Fremd HS, Barrington, Ill.) dropped a single into right field.

 The Vikings got the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth when Zac Chuvala (Rocky Mountain HS, Fort Collins, Colo.) singled to center and eventually came home on Pat Wilson's (Stevenson HS, Vernon Hills, Ill.) RBI single to right.

 Pisani, who cruised through the first six innings, got some help from battery mate O'Donnell in the Spartan seventh. Vince Parisi led off with a bad-hop infield hit, but with pinch-hitter Ryan Tackitt at the plate, O'Donnell threw behind Parisi at first, picking him off for the first out of the inning. Pisani fanned Tackitt for out number two, but another pinch-hitter, Ben Rockwell, reached on a Viking error. O'Donnell came through again though, cutting down pinch-runner Klayton Breitbach attempting to steal second to end the game.

 Pisani gave up six hits and walked just one while striking out five. He improved to 2-1 on the year. O'Donnell had two of Augustana's six hits.

Game Two: Augustana 8, Dubuque 6

  For five innings, DiDomenico's performance in the nightcap was just as impressive as Pisani's. He stymied the Spartan bats, allowing just an unearned on one hit. The Vikings staked him to an 8-1 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first and three each in the third and fourth.

 However, the Viking freshman ran into trouble in the top of the sixth. A pair of singles, including an infield hit, and a walk loaded the bases for the Spartans with one out. DiDomenico fanned pinch-hitter Phil Elking for the second out, but Jeffrey Stevens worked him for a walk to force in a run to make the score 8-2. Augustana head coach Greg Wallace then went to his closer, Josiah Martin (Canton HS, Canton, Ill.). The first batter he faced, Jacob Sylvester, cleared the bases with a double down the left field line and Andrew Danna cut the lead to 8-6, delivering Sylvester with a single to left center. After another hit, Martin struck out Todd Whited to end the inning, leaving two Spartans stranded.

 Vince Frede (St. Charles East HS, St. Charles, Ill.) came on in the seventh and retired the Spartans without incident to earn his third save of the season. DiDomenico, who gave up five runs (four earned) on just three hits, picked up the win in his collegiate debut. He walked three and struck out four.

 Dave Hoffman (Cary-Grove HS, Fox River Grove, Ill.) and Wilson each had RBI singles in the Viking first. Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS Grayslake, Ill.) had the big hit in Augustana's three-run third. He lined a two-run single to center and Jacob VanDuyne (Wilmington HS, Wilmington, Ill.) added an RBI single to right in the inning. Jared McIntosh (Assumption HS, Davenport, Iowa) had a two-run single to left center in the fourth inning and later scored the Vikings' final run, stealing home on the front end of an Augustana double steal.

 Hoffman, Wilson, McIntosh and Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.) each had two of the Vikings' 13 hits in the contest. Chuvala and McIntosh each scored twice, while McIntosh and Schmidt drove in two runs apiece.

 Augustana plays a three-game series this weekend at Millikin. The Vikings and Big Blue meet in a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, May 7 and in a single game at noon on Sunday, May 8.