Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Vikings escape Illinois weather; go 8-1 in Florida

After being on a bus for nearly 22 hours, the Augustana Vikings baseball team went 8-1 on their spring break trip down to sunny Florida. The trip marked the begining of the Vikings’ season.
On this trip, made up of 9 games against non-CCIW teams, the Vikings outscored their opponents 62-37. While having the chance to  bring their game together before coming up north according to sophomore Ryan Kairis.
“Early on, we didn’t put everything together at once, but our timely hitting allowed us to find ways to win when we had to. After the first 3 or 4 games we put it all together and we went from there,” said Kairis.
Kairis started all 9 games down in Florida and sported a .350 batting average along with 1 home run and 9 RBI’s. For the second straight year, the Florida trip was kind to the sophomore outfielder.
“It’s just nice to go down there and have the warm weather instead of starting the season in the cold up here,” said Karais.
The Vikings were also carried by senior Zach Morgenstern. Morgenstern turned in a 2-0 record in both starts along with posting a 1.50 ERA.
The Vikings worked to a 2.78 ERA, and that is in large part to the teams new hitting coach for the 2017 campaign, Justin Hauer, according to Morgenstern.
“It’s been a really big adjustment, and he has come in and done a really great job. Me and a few of the other pitchers got together and determined the direction our staff wants to go. We told him our vision, and he has done a great job of merging the things we have done with the stuff he is trying to implement,” said Morgenstern.
Looking at the Florida trip through the stat book, you may miss one very important thing: how much the team comes together when they are living together on a trip.
“As a senior, everyone had to sit with someone else and many seniors sat with a freshman. I don’t usually get the opportunity to talk with the freshman outside of practice,” said Morgenstern. “You got a 22 hour bus ride with kids with tons of questions and once they get comfortable they start to ask those questions on their mind.”
Kairis also talked about how important the trip is for the team.
“The Florida trip is one of the highlights of the season. It’s the first time that we are all around baseball games together. No matter what your  role on the team when you watch the team when the first game, you get very settled in,” said Kairis.
Now that the fun of Florida has ended, the Vikings have until April 1st, and then CCIW games start fast and heavy. The Vikings are looking to win the CCIW for the second straight year. One series that has the Vikings attention already is against North Central.
“The North Central series is going to be very competitive. They are nationally ranked this year and that means nothing to us. They were nationally ranked last year and we won 3 out of 5 games. We wanna face the top teams and go after the best,” said Morgenstern.

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Vikings escape Illinois weather; go 8-1 in Florida