SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – In a battle between two of the top teams in the NSIC standings, Augustana University softball swept the University of Sioux Falls in a doubleheader at Sherman Park on Tuesday evening. The Vikings won the opener 8-0 before taking game two 7-4.
With the sweep, Augustana improved to 24-11 on the season, including 11-2 in conference play. USF dropped to 27-9 on the season (10-4 in the NSIC). Augustana now sits alone in first-place in the NSIC standings having won seven straight games.
Augustana also earned a point in the First Dakota National Bank Mayor’s Cup Challenge with the sweep over the Cougars. Augustana leads USF 9.5-0.5 in the annual head-to-head challenge.
Augustana scored early and often in an 8-0 win over the Cougars in game one and got a strong pitching effort from senior Carley Pickett.
Pickett (14-6) carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning and ended up tossing a complete-game shutout while allowing just three hits. Pickett struck out four batters and forced the Cougars into 11 ground ball outs.
Pickett also led the Vikings at the plate in game one, finishing 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Carly Peterson was 2 for 4 with a run scored and Maddie Merriam finished 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI.
Augustana took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning scoring a pair of runs on two hits and one USF error. Maggie Kadrlik drove in the game’s first run with an RBI double to right center that scored Pickett who started off the inning with a one out single. Kadrlik scored the second run of the inning when Kaylea Schorr reached on a fielding error.
Abby Chandler and Peterson started a one-out rally in the top of the second with back-to-back singles and Pickett followed with a double to right center to give her team and herself a 3-0 lead. The Vikings looked poised to tack on some more runs but Sarah Kennedy lined out sharply to third place and the Cougars were able to turn a double play.
The Vikings took a 4-0 lead in the top of the third on an RBI single from Merriam but once again caught some tough luck when Katie Parker lined sharply into a double play to third.
Augustana and USF played two scoreless innings before the Vikings were able to tack on three more runs in the sixth. Parker led the inning off with a solo shot down the left field line to give Augustana a five-run lead and later in the inning Kennedy drove in a pair with a single to center to push the lead to 7-0.
Merriam added to the lead with a solo home run in the seventh inning as Pickett continued to cruise setting the Cougars down in order in the sixth and seventh.
Augustana used a five-run third inning to earn a 7-4 win over the Cougars in game two. Both teams finished with 12 hits in the nightcap but a grand slam by Augustana’s Morgan Beaner in the third helped the Vikings earn the sweep.
Karlee Koopman earned her ninth win of the season for the Vikings in the circle while Pickett closed-the door to earn her third save of the season (20th career).
Maggie Kadrlik and Carly Peterson were each 3 for 4 with an RBI for the Vikings in game two. Peterson hit her team-leading 14th double of the season. Maddie Merriam turned in a 2 for 3 performance at the plate for the Vikings in the nightcap.
Augustana left five runners on base in the first two innings, including leaving the bases loaded in the top of the first. USF was able to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on a two-run home run by Betsy Thomas.
Augustana was able to answer back quickly getting five runs in the top of the third. Kennedy and Kadrlik started the inning with back-to-back singles and Shannon Petersen put them both into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Schorr drove in Kennedy with an RBI single to cut Augustana’s lead in half at 2-1.
With runners on first and second, Merriam singled to left to load the bases with one out. Beaner then took a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left center for her fifth home run of the season that gave Augustana a 5-0 lead.
After a scoreless fourth, Augustana extended its lead to 7-2 in the fifth getting an RBI single from Peterson and a bases loaded walk from Kadrlik to push the lead to five.
Pickett entered the game in the fifth and surrendered a two-run home run to Thomas, her second of the game, which made the score 7-4.
Pickett got out of the fifth without any further damage and worked through adversity in the sixth and seventh innings to earn her third save of the season. USF loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but Pickett got out of the inning getting Megan Peterson to ground out to first to end the game.
Augustana returns to Bowden Field this weekend for a pair of NSIC doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. The Vikings will host Bemidji State at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Minnesota Crookston at 12 p.m. on Sunday.
— GoAugie.com —