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April 13, 2013

Vikings hit five home runs in split with North Park

Amanda Johnson hit a game-winning home run in the bottom of the seventh inning of game one to lift the Vikings to an 8-6 win over North Park in the first game of a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin double header on Saturday.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - The wind was blowing out to left field and home runs dominated as Augustana and North Park split a College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin softball double header on Saturday, April 13 at Carver Field. A total of seven home runs were hit on the afternoon as the Vikings won the first game 8-6 and lost the nightcap 7-3.

Augustana, ranked 25th in the latest NCAA Division III poll conducted by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association, is now 19-7 overall and 4-2 in the CCIW while North Park is 16-6 and 2-4.   Sophomore Laura Behnke (Wheaton St. Francis HS, Roselle, Ill.) hit a pair of home runs while senior Amanda Johnson (York HS, Elmhurst, Ill.), junior Jaime Rehmert (Sterling HS, Sterling, Ill.) and freshman Cheyenne Burnett (Rock Falls HS, Rock Falls, Ill.) each had one. It was Johnson's two-run blast in the bottom of the seventh in game one that provided the winning runs in that contest.   Lyndsay Synek hit two home runs for North Park.  

GAME ONE (Augustana 8, North Park 6)  

Johnson nailed a two-run home run off North Park starter Danielle Warner with one out in the bottom of the seventh to give the Vikings the win. The inning started with Augustana trailing 6-5 after Synek homered to center field off Viking reliever and eventual winner Christie Wiersema (Morrison HS, Morrison, Ill.) to break a 5-5 tie in the top of the frame.  

Rehmert led off with a line drive homer to left that knotted the game at 6-6. Junior Chaney Tambling (Dwight HS, Dwight, Ill.) followed with a single to center field and she was replaced by pinch-runner Lisa Bartha (Glenbard South HS, Wheaton, Ill.). After an out, Bartha moved to second on a wild pitch and Johnson then delivered her game winner high over the left-center field fence.  

The Vikings jumped off to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Behnke led off with a home run. North Park scored two in the top of the third on a two-run double to left off the bat of Sonya Le. Augustana countered with one in the bottom of the inning when Krista Watson (Coal City HS, Coal City, Ill.) singled home Behnke, who had singled and stole second.  

In the bottom of the fourth the Vikings picked up two runs on four hits and a North Park error. Tambling walked to lead things off and gave way to pinch-runner Kendra Rakers (Belleville West HS, Millstadt, Ill.). Rakers went to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Chelsea Lavin (Downers Grove South HS, Downers Grove, Ill.). Lavin went to second when the throw got away and she came home on a single off the bat of Johnson. That made the score 4-2 in favor of the Vikings.  

North Park took the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth with Le's two run double being the big blow.  However, Burnett homered with one out in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game 5-5 to set up the wild seventh inning.  

Wiersema worked one inning in relief of starter Sarah Hintz (LeRoy HS, LeRoy, Ill.), who allowed five runs, four of them earned on just five hits but she walked three while striking out five. She picked up the win to move to 4-1.  

The Vikings pounded out 15 hits with Behnke collecting three and sophomore Jenna Teson (Jacobs HS. Algonquin, Ill.), Watson, Johnson and Burnett each getting two.  

GAME TWO (North Park 7, Augustana 3)  

North Park exploded for seven runs in its final two at-bats to surge to a 7-3 win over the Vikings and split the CCIW twin-bill.  

Augustana took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning (the teams flip-flop home position in conference double headers) when Tambling singled in Teson. Teson walked to lead off the inning, stole second and advanced to third on a ground out.  

In the top of the fifth the Vikings moved in front 3-0 when Behnke hit a two run home run off North Park starter Casey Latal with Burnett on board.  

North Park cut the lead to 3-2 with a pair of runs in the  bottom of the fifth with the help of a Viking error. In the bottom of the sixth North Park put five runs on the board with a three run home run off the bat of Lindsay Synek providing the clincher.  

Ashley Anderson (Sherrard HS, Viola, Ill.) worked 5 2/3 innings and absorbed the loss for the Vikings and is now 6-2 on the year. Tambling had two hits to lead the offense.