WARRENSBURG, MO (Dakota News Now) – Augustana Baseball defeated the Ouachita Baptist Tigers 12-7 on Friday to advance to the NCAA Central Region Tournament Championship Game.
Ryan Jares started on the hill for Augustana and pitched 6.1 innings for the win. Jares struck out six batters. With his fourth strikeout of the game in the fourth inning, Jares became the single-season strikeout leader with his 105th of the season. Tanner Brown previously broke the record with his 104th strikeout in 2022 against Minnesota State on Thursday. Seth Miller earned the stoppage after coming into the ninth inning with the bases loaded. He had three strikeouts to send the Vikings to the Pod Championship.
Ouachita Baptist was the first team to score after hitting back-to-back homers in the top of the first inning. The Vikings then cut the lead in half in the bottom half of the inning as Jordan Barth hit a solo home run.
Augustana took the lead shortly after in the second set when Luke Ballweg hit a deep triple to right center that bounced off the wall to score JT Mix and Jaxon Rosencranz. Mix reached base with a single to center field and Rosencranz selected midfield to get in base.
The lead didn’t last long as another Tigers home run scored two runs and OBU led 4-3.
In the fourth inning, Augustana took full control of the game, scoring five runs to take a solid lead. A hard-hit home run by Luke Ballweg tackled Mix and Rosencranz for the second time in the game. A back-to-back homer was hit by Drey Dirksen and AU led 7-4. The last run of the inning was added by Carter Howell after a Jordan Barth single.
Will Olson pushed Augustana’s lead to 10-4 after running and tagging Jordan Barth. Rosencranz tackled Jack Hines with a triple to add one more point to AU’s total.
Dirksen hit his second home run of the game, also his 14th of the season, in the seventh inning and the Vikings led by six runs.
Ouachita Baptist scored three more runs in the top of the eighth inning, reducing AU’s lead to five runs.
After the Tigers attempted to mount a comeback top of the ninth, Miller came in with the bases loaded. He calmly got his first hitter to hit a breaking ball. He then forced a weak strikeout for the second out of the inning. The final out also came via strikeout to send the Vikings into the winners’ group.
Hines led with three hits and Ballweg led with five RBIs. Eight Vikings recorded a hit in the victory.
The Vikings will face the winner of No.1 Central Missouri/No. 8 Ouachita Baptist match scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday. Augustana’s next game is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday. Stay tuned to @AugieBaseball social media channels for updates as the weather may have different plans for game times.
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