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March 27, 2010

2010 Season - Augustana drops second straight

MOLINE, Ill.—For the second game in a row, the 11th-ranked Augustana Vikings were betrayed by their defense. The Vikings committed five errors leading to three unearned runs in an 8-5 loss to Buena Vista Saturday at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field.

Viking starter Mike Trotta (Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) set Buena Vista down in order in the top of the first and after Augustana left two runners stranded without scoring in the bottom half, Beaver cleanup hitter Michael Hoffman started the second by reaching on the first Vikings miscue of the day. That was followed by a Kevin Koewer single. The next hitter, Brett Wilson laid down a sacrifice bunt, but indecision on the part of Augustana cost the Vikings an out and left the bases loaded. A Ryan Scheetz single, a Mark Blum sacrifice fly and another single, this one by Brad Blum, each drove in a run to stake Beaver starter Luke Probasco to a 3-0 lead after an inning and a half.

Probasco started the bottom of the second by hitting Augustana’s Mike Lamb (Ottawa HS, Ottawa, Ill.) who then stole second and advanced to third on Jarl Dahlgren’s (Auburn HS, Rockford, Ill.) single over the second baseman’s head. He scored on a booming double to left center by freshman second baseman Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.). The RBI double came in Juhl’s first collegiate at-bat.

The Beavers parlayed a walk, three hits and another Viking miscue into three more runs in the top of the fifth and Augustana again responded with a single run in the bottom half. Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Heights, Ill.) led off with a walk and then Kurt Schmidt (Grayslake Central HS, Graysake, Ill.) laid down a sacrifice bunt. However, the aggressive Serna didn’t stop at second and when first baseman Mark Blum’s throw sailed past third, he came around to score.

Buena Vista added single runs in the sixth and seventh to make the score 8-2. The run in the seventh was aided by two more Augustana errors, but Serna ended the inning by cutting down a run at the plate with a strong throw from center field.

In the bottom of the seventh, Probasco, who was coasting, retired the first two Vikings and then was pulled in favor of lefty reliever Kyle Dupic. Dupic promptly walked Dave Hoffman (Cary Grove HS, Fox River Grove, Ill.).

With four consecutive left-handed hitters scheduled to face Dupic, Viking coach Greg Wallace decided to utilize his bench. T.J. O’Donnell (New Trier HS, Northbrook, Ill.), the first of four straight pinch-hitters, was hit by a Dupic pitch. Then Tyler Bernal (LaSalle-Peru HS, Peru, Ill.) singled to left in his first collegiate at-bat to load the bases. Mike Barker (Grandview HS, Centennial, Colo.; now resides in Marina Del Rey, Calif.) followed with a two-run single to right to cut the lead to 8-4. Reggie Kock then relieved Dupic and fanned pinch hitter Anthony Concialdi to end the inning.

Although Viking relievers Vince Frede (St. Charles East HS, St. Charles, Ill.) and Joe Ufheil (Notre Dame HS, Chicago, Ill.) were able to hold the Beavers in the eighth and ninth, the Viking offense could manage just a single run in the bottom of the ninth on a Barker sacrifice fly.

Trotta went five innings and gave up seven runs (five earned) to take the loss. He falls to 1-1 on the year. Probasco got the win to improve to 3-1. Barker came off the bench to drive in three runs and Dahlgren had the Vikings’ only multiple hit game, going 2-for-3 to raise his average to .563 for the season.

Augustana falls to 12-2 on the year while Buena Vista, who defeated Monmouth earlier in the day, improves to 5-5. The Vikings open the CCIW schedule by traveling to Wheaton for a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader on Thursday, April 1. They then come home to host the Thunder in a single game on Saturday, April 3 at 1:00 p.m.