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February 28, 2012

2012 Season - Augustana downs Rose-Hulman 10-8

Junior third baseman Joe Cecchi had four hits and two RBI Tuesday to lead an 18-hit Augustana attack as the Vikings knocked off Rose-Hulman 10-8 in Auburndale, Florida.

AUBURNDALE, Fla.-Augustana pounded out 18 hits Tuesday on its way to a 10-8 win over Rose-Hulman. Juniors Joe Cecchi (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) and Mark VanNatta (Alleman HS, Moline, Ill.) had four and three hits, respectively to lead the Viking attack. Augustana starter Ben Heaton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Heyworth, Ill.) battled his way into the ninth inning and picked up his first win of the year.

Heaton took a 10-5 lead into the bottom of the ninth, but walked leadoff hitter Nick Pilipovich. Coach Greg Wallace brought in sophomore Rob DiDomenico (Sandburg HS, Orland Park, Ill.) who promptly fanned Will Burchett, but then surrendered three straight singles as the Engineers cut the lead to 10-7. After Bobby Newman popped out to Viking first baseman Grant Stewart (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.), Donald Stopka delivered another run-scoring single to make it 10-8. Wallace then turned to freshman Eric Egan (Oswego East HS, Aurora, Ill.), who got Matthew Turk to pop to Stewart to end the game, stranding a pair of runners. It was Egan's second save in as many days.

The Vikings gave Heaton a 2-0 lead after a half inning. Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.) and VanNatta opened the frame with back-to-back singles. Junior Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.) sacrificed them to second and third and a sacrifice fly from Mike Barker (Centennial Colo. Grandview HS, Marina del Rey, Cal.) brought home Juhl with the game's first run. Cecchi followed with a single, scoring VanNatta.

Cecchi extended the lead to 3-0 in the third with an RBI single that scored Schmidt, who had reached on an error and stolen second.

Rose-Hulman got to Heaton for four runs in the bottom of the fourth. The big hits were a solo homer by Newman and an RBI double by Jamie Weinle.

Augustana retook the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth. Senior Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) doubled to score Schmidt and Cecchi, who had singled and doubled, respectively. Serna then scored on a Stewart double to make it 6-4 Vikings. They extended the lead to 8-4 in the sixth when Juhl singled and eventually scored on a passed ball and VanNatta doubled and scored on a Schmidt single.

Turk tripled in Newman in the bottom of the eight to make it 8-5. Augustana responded with two more runs in the top of the ninth on RBI singles by senior Anthony Concialdi (Fremd HS, Barrington, Ill.) and VanNatta, setting up the eventful bottom half of the frame.

In addition to Cecchi and VanNatta's combined seven hits, Juhl, Schmidt, Serna and Stewart had two each. Juhl, VanNatta, Schmidt and Serna each scored twice, while Cecchi and Serna drove in two apiece. Heaton went eight-plus innings, allowing 10 hits and six runs. He walked two and struck out six to even his record at 1-1.

4-2 Augustana takes on Loras in a 12:30 p.m. doubleheader on Wednesday, February 29 in Winter Haven, Florida.