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April 18, 2012

2012 Season - Augustana knocks off Knox 7-2

Freshman infielder Kyle Lenihan went 3-for-3 and scored twice Wednesday night as Augustana defeated Knox 7-2 at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field.

MOLINE, Ill.-Freshman Kyle Lenihan (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) and junior Jeremy Juhl (Glenbard East HS, Lombard, Ill.) each had three hits and three Augustana pitchers limited Knox to just four singles as the Vikings defeated the Prairie Fire 7-2 Wednesday night at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field. The win bumps Augustana's record to 19-10 on the year.

Knox manufactured a run to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Dexter Brown led off with an infield hit and moved to second when Michael O'Connell was hit by a Ben Heaton (Bloomington Central Catholic HS, Heyworth, Ill.) offering. Heaton was able to force Brown at third on Jackson White's unsuccessful sacrifice attempt, but Caleb Weaver moved O'Connell to third with a deep fly out. Viking catcher Jim Sandberg (JK Mullen HS, Littleton, Colo.) then cut down White attempting to steal, but the Prairie Fire center fielder was able to stay in a rundown long enough for O'Connell to score the game's first run.

The hosts tied it in the bottom half. Juhl followed Jacob VanDuyne's (Wilmington HS, Wilmington, Ill.) leadoff single with a double down the right field line. Mike Barker (Centennial, Colo. Grandview HS, Marina del Rey, Cal.) scored VanDuyne with a sacrifice fly to center. However, after a walk to Grant Stewart (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.), Prairie Fire pitcher Ryan Stoens escaped further damage by getting an inning-ending double play.

The Vikings added five runs in the next two innings to take a 6-1 lead. In the second, VanDuyne had a big two-run double down the left field line to give Augustana the lead. He scored the third run of the inning on a Juhl single. In the third, the Vikings got an RBI single from Sandberg and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Kevin Serna (Rolling Meadows HS, Arlington Height, Ill.).

From that point, pitching took over for both teams. Brian Konecke (Lakes Community HS, Itasca, Ill.) relieved Heaton after four innings and Doug Lillibridge replaced Stoens after three. Each pitched through the end of the seventh and gave up one run. Konecke allowed a Prairie Fire run in the fifth on a hit-by-pitch, stolen base and RBI single. Augustana freshman catcher Nicholas Tenerelli (Downers Grove South HS, Downers Grove, Ill.) touched Lillibridge for an RBI single in the seventh, scoring Lenihan.

Eric Egan (Oswego East HS, Aurora, Ill.) pitched the eighth and ninth for the Vikings. The only two runners that reached against the freshman right-hander did so via errors and he recorded the game's final out with an outstanding sliding catch of a popup in foul territory.

Heaton gave up just two singles and one run in four innings. He walked three and fanned one. Konecke also allowed a pair of singles in his three-inning stint. He walked no one and struck out five to get credit for his fourth win against just one loss this year.

In addition to the three hits each by Lenihan and Juhl, VanDuyne was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two driven in. Lenihan and Joe Cecchi (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) each scored twice as well.

After a pair of non-conference games, the Vikings get back into CCIW action this weekend, opening a three-game series against Wheaton with a single game at Swanson/Brunner Friday at 5:30 p.m.