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February 29, 2012

2012 Season - Vikings move to 6-2 with sweep of Loras

Senior outfielder Kevin Serna went 3-for-4 with a triple, two runs scored and two RBI in game one of Augustana's doubleheader sweep of Loras Wednesday in Florida. The Vikings won the first game 9-5 and took the nightcap 3-1.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla.-Solid pitching and timely hitting were the keys Wednesday as Augustana improved to 6-2 this season with a doubleheader sweep of Loras in Florida. The Vikings won the opener 9-5 and took the nightcap by a score of 3-1.

Game One: Augustana 9, Loras 5

Seniors Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) and Mike Trotta (Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) came up big in Augustana's game one win. Serna went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two driven in and Trotta went the full seven innings, fanning nine, to improve to 2-0 on the season.

The Vikings took the lead with four unearned runs off Duhawk starter Ben Cottrell in the third. After retiring Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.) to start the frame, Cottrell surrendered a single to right by Mark VanNatta (Alleman HS, Moline, Ill.). VanNatta moved to third on a single to right center by Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.), who advanced to second on the throw. With the Loras infield drawn in, Mike Barker (Centennial Colo. Grandview HS, Marina del Rey, Cal.) bounced to short, but the Duhawks' Mike Pudlo couldn't handle it and VanNatta came across with the game's first run. One out later, Serna lined a triple under the glove of leftfielder Kevin Harlander that scored Barker and Joe Cecchi (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.), who had reached on a fielder's choice. After Grant Stewart (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) coaxed a walk, he got caught in a rundown between first and second as Serna scored the final run of the inning before Stewart was put out.

Loras took advantage of a pair of passed balls and a wild pitch in the bottom of the third to cut the Augustana lead to 4-2, but the Vikings got a run back in the top of the fourth. Jim Sandberg (JK Mullen HS, Littleton, Colo.) was hit by a pitch to start the inning and was sacrificed to second by Anthony Concialdi (Fremd HS, Barrington, Ill.). The Augustana catcher moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a VanNatta sacrifice fly to left.

Juhl doubled down the left field line to open a four-run sixth inning as the Vikings broke the game open against reliever Jake Norton. VanNatta sacrificed Juhl to third and after Schmidt was hit by a pitch, Barker delivered a two-run triple to right center to make it 7-2 Augustana. Barker scored on a Cecchi sacrifice fly and then Serna singled to center, stole second and scored the Vikings' final run on a Stewart double to left.

The Duhawks got to Trotta for a single run in the bottom of the sixth and a pair of unearned runs in the seventh, but he was able to finish them off. For the game, he gave up seven hits and issued two walks and just two of Loras' five runs were earned. Like Serna, Barker scored twice and drove in two.

Game Two: Augustana 3, Loras 1

In the nightcap, pitchers Brian Konecke (Lakes Community HS, Itasca, Ill.) and Josiah Martin (Canon HS, Canton, Ill.) combined to hold Loras without an earned run as Augustana improved to 6-2 on the year with a 3-1 win.

With the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth, VanNatta singled past Duhawk first baseman B.J. Juergens to score Jacob VanDuyne (Wilmington HS, Wilmington, Ill.) with the go-ahead run. The Vikings added an insurance run when Schmidt followed with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Juhl. VanDuyne and Juhl singled and walked, respectively, to start the inning.

With the lead, Augustana coach Greg Wallace lifted starter Konecke and turned to the veteran Martin out of the bullpen. The senior right-hander shut Loras out over the final two innings to earn his first save of the season. Konecke scattered four hits and five walks over five innings to improve his record to 2-0 on the year. The sophomore right-hander gave up an unearned run in the third, but induced a bases-loaded 6-4-3 double play from Eric DeSousa to end the inning.

Augustana had taken a 1-0 in the bottom of the first. With two outs, Schmidt singled to left, moved to second on a passed ball and came around to score on a Barker single to center.

VanNatta and Barker were each 2-for-3 with an RBI to pace the Viking offensive attack.

Augustana wraps up the season's first Florida trip with a 10:30 a.m. game against Wartburg on Thursday, March 1.