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February 24, 2024

Baseball falls short to Cornell; splits doubleheader against Rockford

The Augustana baseball team split a home doubleheader Sunday, Mar. 24 against Rockford University losing 1-8 and winning 4-3. The Vikings also fell in a home game on Thursday evening against Cornell College by a score of 10-11 bringing their season record to 10-4-1.
Thursday evening, the Vikings found themselves behind the eight ball early after four runs led to a 4-0 Cornell lead after the top of the first inning. Cornell followed with a single run in both the third and fourth inning. Cornell then put up five runs in the fifth inning bringing the score to 11-0.
Senior Ryan Kairis talked about how he got the team motivated after this early scoring gap.
“The Cornell game was a beast in itself. Unlike any baseball game I’ve ever played in. We came out there with no energy from the first pitch and it showed on the scoreboard. I had a talk with the team later into the game, reminding guys that baseball is a game, and you’re supposed to have fun in a game. If you’re not having fun, then you’ll find yourself down a lot,” Kairis said.
The bottom of the fifth brought some life to the Vikings. Kairis led the inning off with a triple that vaulted the Vikings into a two run fifth.
“Once I lead off an inning with a triple, I think that showed the rest of the team that I was having fun in that game, regardless of the score. Once they saw that, everyone joined in and we climbed back into the game,” Kairis said.
Augustana exploded for eight runs in the bottom of the eighth. Cornell walked the bases loaded, and the Vikings took advantage. Kairis came up with the bases loaded and came through with an RBI single.
After walks and passed balls, first-year Drew Davis had a double, which brought in two more runs bringing the score to 10-11. However, the Vikings weren’t able to tie the game up in the ninth, and fell just short.
Just as the Cornell game, the Vikings were hurt by errors in the first game against Rockford. After both teams picked a run in the second, Rockford picked up three more runs in the fifth inning on two hits and one error bringing the score to 4-1.
Following that, Rockford picked up a run on one hit and two errors in the sixth, and then three more runs in the eighth bringing the score to 8-1 resulting in Augustana to drop the first game of the doubleheader.
Kairis was quick to include that it wasn’t the pitching performances that hurt the Vikings this past week, it was poor defensive play.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say we had bad pitching performances. Sure we need to limit our walks and let guys put the ball in play so we can defend it, but we actually need to defend it. Lately we’ve struggled heavily defensively with errors that we shouldn’t be making,” Kairis said.
At the end of the day, the Vikings were able to salvage the doubleheader by winning the last game 4-3. 
Augustana started off the scoring in the bottom of the first after a double off the bat of senior Ryan Grannemann drove in Kairis to put the Vikings on the board.
Following the first, the Vikings’ bats went quiet until the seventh. The Vikings were facing a 1-3 deficit before Owens turned in a sac fly and junior Jake Huber had an RBI single to tie the game up.
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 11th when Sophomore Mitch Owens came through with a walk-off RBI single. 
“I was thinking I had to get the ball in the air. We had guys on second and third with the infield in, so my entire goal was to get something to the outfield. I got lucky enough to get a curveball and lift it out there enough to score Nick,” said Owens.
The Vikings will start CCIW play on Wednesday, Mar. 27 when they face off against Millikin at Swanson Brunner Field. 
 

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Baseball falls short to Cornell; splits doubleheader against Rockford