No. 13 Augustana Splits Doubleheader At No. 19 Winona State
WINONA, MN — No. 13 Augustana College softball split a doubleheader at No. 19 Winona State on Wednesday afternoon winning the opener 5-0 before dropping a heartbreaker, 6-5 in the nightcap. The Vikings got the timely hits in the first game and battled back to get into position to win game two in the top of the seventh.
Caitlin Nichol hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning in game two and Mackenzie Alstott followed with a walk to keep the rally going. Alstott moved up to second on a passed ball and then tried to get to third on a ground ball out by Sarah Kennedy but was thrown out on a close call to bring Augustana to its last chance.
Jenelle Trautmann singled with two outs but the Winona State pitcher got Lindsay Spanton to ground out to end the game.
Augustana is now 23-6 on the season, including 6-2 in NSIC play while Winona State is 20-4, 3-1 in conference play.
Caitlin Nichol, Lindsay Spanton and Erin Kempf each had two hits for the Vikings and Jordan Schaffer had a big three-run home run in the top of the sixth inning.
Nichol finished the game 2 for 4 with a double and a run scored while Spanton and Kempf each went 2 for 3 with two singles and a run scored each.
Jenelle Trautmann (16-2) tossed 6.0 innings to pick up the win while striking out six batters and walking three. WSU’s Ashley Walker falls to 6-3 in the loss after giving up all five runs, four earned, and nine hits.
The Vikings had chances to start the scoring in each of the first two innings but were unable to get a runner past third. Nichol led off the game for the Vikings with a double off the left field fence. Mackenzie Alstott moved her up to third on a sacrifice bunt but Nichol would stay at third after two straight groundouts to end the inning.
After two quick outs to start the bottom of the first inning, Winona State just as quickly loaded the bases after a single, a hit batter and a walk. Trautmann got out of the early jam getting a strikeout to end the inning.
Augustana put together another threat in the top of the second inning after back-to-back singles by Kempf and Emily Heinz but Schaffer lined into a double play on a hard hit ball to right field to end the inning.
The Vikings finally broke through in the top of the third inning scoring two runs on two hits. With two outs and runners on first and second after Nichol’s one-out single and Alstott getting hit by a pitch, Trautmann loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch.
Nichol came around to score on a passed ball and both runners also moved up setting up Spanton’s RBI single to give the Vikings a 2-0 lead.
After two scoreless innings, Augustana extended its lead to 5-0 after Schaffer hit her team-leading sixth home run of the season, a three-run shot to right center. Spanton and Kempf started the rally with back-to-back singles to start the sixth before moving up to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Heinz. Schaffer then stepped to the plate and sent the ball over the right field fence to push Augustana’s lead to five.
Winona State threatened in the bottom of the sixth getting consecutive singles from Morgan Lintz and Mary Turitto but Trautmann got a fielder’s choice and two ground ball outs to end the inning, keeping the five-run lead intact.
The Warriors got a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning but Alstott was able to make a sliding catch in center field and catch the runner on first off guard to turn the double play. Ashley Walker singled right after the double play but Carley Pickett, who came in to pitch the seventh, got a ground ball out to end the inning.
Maddie Merriam had a big day at the plate for the Vikings going 2 for 3 with a double, a home run, a run scored and two RBI. Kennedy and Trautmann each went 2 for 4 with an RBI in the second game for Augustana.
Winona State started off the scoring in game two taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Pickett got two quick outs after a leadoff single but the Warriors were able to push a run across after a passed ball, walk and then an RBI single by Mary Turitto.
The Warriors added a run in the bottom of the second inning after a leadoff home run by Jessica Kullmann to make it a 2-0 game.
Augustana came right back in the top of the third inning to tie the game at 2-2 after a two-run home run by Maddie Merriam. Schaffer started the rally with a one-out single and Merriam stepped to the plate and blasted her second home run of the season over the left field fence to even things up.
The Warriors didn’t leave it tied for long going for three runs on four hits in the bottom of the third inning, including a two-run home run by Natalie Kalmes, to take a 5-2 lead.
Augustana clawed back to get within one in the top of the fifth scoring two runs on three hits to make it a 5-4 game. Merriam picked up her second hit of the afternoon, this time a one-out double to start the rally for the Vikings. After Nichol flied out to left field, Augustana got things going with two outs as Sarah Kennedy doubled to left center to drive in the first run. Trautmann drove in the second run on an infield single to bring the Vikings within one headed to the bottom of the fifth.
Winona State loaded the bases on a walk and two singles to start the bottom of the fifth inning and plated another run on a sacrifice fly by Jenny Nelson giving her team a two-run edge at 6-4. Trautmann, who came in to pitch the fifth in relief of Pickett, got out of the jam getting three straight outs after allowing three quick base runners.
Nichol’s solo blast got the Vikings jump started in the top of the seventh but the crucial out call at third base stopped the Vikings threat.
Courtesy: Augustana College