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March 20, 2012

2012 Season - Baseball moves into NCAA top 25

Augustana is off to an 11-2 start in baseball and is currently ranked 24th in the latest NCAA Division III national poll.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill.— Two successful trips to Florida have helped propel Augustana into the top 25 of the first NCAA Division III national baseball poll of the 2012 season. The Vikings are currently 11-2 overall after coming back from a recent weekend swing to Ft. Myers, Florida where they won all four games by a combined score of 47-7.

Augustana, under the direction of veteran head coach Greg Wallace, was not ranked in the pre-season poll but picked up 45 points in the first poll, which is conducted by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

The Vikings went to Florida for their first trip at the end of February and after four games were 2-2. A 4-2 victory over Milwaukee School of Engineering on February 27 sparked a winning streak that has now reached a nine game winning streak. The second Florida trip was a four-game in three-day affair and Augustana started with a double header sweep of Minnesota-Morris by scores 6-1 and 20-0 on Friday, March 16. That was followed by a 16-6 win over Wisconsin-Lutheran on March 17 and the final day resulted in a 5-0 victory over Olivet.

A combination of hitting, fielding and solid pitching has led to the impressive start. As a team the Vikings are hitting .357 and have scored 109 runs for an average of 8.4 per game. Junior shortstop Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.) leads the team with a .444 batting average with 24 hits in 54 at-bats. Despite hitting leadoff, he is tied for the team lead in runs-batted-in with 12. Senior outfielder Mike Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo. – now resides in Marina del Ray, Calif.) is next at .426 with 20 hits in 47 at-bats and he is tied Juhl for the team lead in RBI.

The Vikings are fielding at a .963 clip with only 17 errors in 458 total chances.

With a team earned run average of 2.82, the Augustana pitching staff has been tremendous. Sophomore Brian Konecke (Lakes Community HS, Itasca, Ill.) and senior Mike Trotta (Niles Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) are both currently 3-0. Konecke has a 1.00 earned run average while Trotta is at 1.29 with a team-leading 19 strikeouts in 21 innings. Opposing batters are hitting just .260 against the Viking hurlers.

Augustana is scheduled to play a pair of home games this week, facing Monmouth in the opener at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:00 p.m. and then taking on Aurora at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 25.

NCAA DIVISION III NATIONAL BASEBALL POLL

 *** Compiled by American Baseball Coaches Association as of 03/20/12

 

RANK

TEAM

RECORD

PTS

PRESEASON

1

Trinity (5)

19-3

234

RV

2

Marietta (2)

9-3

225

1

3

Christopher Newport (1)

16-4

214

4

4

Kean

10-3

208

3

5

Linfield

12-4

184

6

6

Wisconsin-Stevens Point

4-1

183

12

7

Salisbury

15-3

174

17

8

SUNY-Cortland

11-4

173

5

9

Piedmont

15-5

166

24

10

Shenandoah

15-5

148

RV

11

Wheaton (Mass)

7-1

146

16

12

Concordia (Texas)

8-3

124

29

13

St. Thomas (Minn)

8-3

124

29

14

Eastern Connecticut

6-2

121

9

15

Rowan

10-3

111

27

16

Carthage

1-0

107

19

17

Adrian

7-2

103

26

18

Bridgewater

16-6

101

NR

19

Illinois Wesleyan

7-2

99

30

20

Ithaca

7-3

72

NR

21

Misericordia

14-2

71

RV

22

Concordia (River Forest)

9-2

65

RV

23

Keystone

7-3

50

RV

24

AUGUSTANA

11-2

45

NR

25

Wisconsin-Whitewater

2-2

44

7

Also receiving votes: Rose-Hulman, Tufts, Cal. Lutheran, St. John-Fisher, Huntingdon, William Paterson, Western New England, Ramapo, Texas-Tyler, North Park, Franklin, Baldwin-Wallace, Amherst, Aurora, Claremont, Spalding, Rhodes, Ohio Wesleyan, Washington (Md.), Wooster, Bowdoin, Hendrix, Neumann, Swarthmore.