May 18, 2013
Augustana falls in regional semis
|First baseman Grant Stewart had a three-run double and a solo home run Saturday, but Augustana fell 9-6 to Concordia on the fianl day of play at the NCAA regional at Swanson/Brunner Field.|
MOLINE, Ill.- Augustana battled back from an early 5-0 deficit Saturday, but ultimately dropped a 9-6 decision to Concordia-Chicago, ending the Vikings' quest for their first NCAA regional championship. Coach Greg Wallace's 20th-ranked club finishes the year with a 34-11 record. The 19th-rated Cougars improved to 39-6 and advanced to the championship game, where they fell to Webster 7-3.
Concordia opened the game in the exact same fashion as in Wednesday's 2-0 win over Augustana. Joe Moran led off with a walk and Shawn Miller followed with a two-run home run. Freshman Darwin Townsend (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.), making his first collegiate start, then gave up a single and a walk, prompting Wallace to call on freshman Brandon Bollman (Lincoln-Way East HS, Frankfort, Ill.). Another single drove in a run and botched pickoff attempt allowed another to score. The final run of the inning scored on Dan Lo Dulce's single to center.
Senior Jared McIntosh (Assumption HS, Davenport, Iowa) came on to start the second and set the Cougars down in order, allowing the Vikings to start to scratch their way back into the game. After Augustana stranded a runner in each of the first two innings, Jacob Van Duyne (Wilmington HS, Wilmington, Ill.) reached on a one-out error in the third. Danny Fifer (Lincoln-Way West HS, New Lenox, Ill.) singled him to third and Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Grayslake, Ill.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Grant Stewart (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) followed with a towering double to the gap in right center, clearing the bases and getting the Vikings to within 5-3.
After McIntosh worked another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third, the comeback continued with two Augustana runs in the top of the fourth. Kyle Lenihan (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.) double down the line in left. Van Duyne then came through with a two-run single to center to tie the game.
The Cougars re-took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, parlaying back-to-back, two-out hit batters into the go-ahead run. McIntosh plunked both Moran and Miller and Thomas Gier plated Moran with an RBI single. They extended the lead to 7-5 in the fifth, scoring a run on a double play grounder.
It stayed that way until the top of the seventh, when Stewart led off by launching a Paul Kukulka offering over the fence in left center to get the Vikings within one. However, Concordia picked up two huge insurance runs in the bottom of the frame, when pinch hitter Tony Barreto dropped a two-run single in front of Van Duyne in right.
Augustana threatened in the eight, getting two runners on, but nothing came of it. The Vikings went down in order in the ninth against reliever Dan Kluss, who started and threw a four-hit shutout in the teams' Wednesday tournament opener.
Stewart went 2-for-5 with four RBI. He joined Kluss and Miller on the all-tournament team, as did Schmidt, who went 1-for-3 on Saturday. Fifer and Juhl each had two hits as well. McIntosh went 5 2/3 innings in relief and suffered the loss, finishing the year at 7-4. Kukulka (6-0) was the winner and Kluss picked up his first save.