Vikings win four straight; now 7-3 on the season; head to Florida for four more games March 12-15

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

ROCK ISLAND, Ill.— The Augustana baseball team finished up its first sojourn to Florida with wins over Northland (12-0) and Alvernia (4-1) last Sunday and Monday, then returned to the Midwest and picked up two more wins this past Saturday. The Vikings defeated Carleton 13-9 and Luther 8-2 at Lenz Field in Jacksonville, Illinois to improve to 7-3 on the season. Coach Greg Wallace’s club will head back to the Sunshine State for four more games on March 12-15.

Through 10 games, Augustana is batting .320 and averaging 7.3 runs per game. Senior right fielder Brandon Jasper (Central HS, DeWitt, Iowa) is the team’s leading hitter with a .400 average. Junior catcher John Swiderski (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) is close behind at .382 and leads the Vikings in home runs (two), RBI (13), runs scored (tied with 10), total bases (26) and slugging (.765). He and Jasper also share the club’s top on-base percentage at .475. Junior shortstop Alex Fluehr (Harlem HS, Loves Park, Ill.) is hitting .371 with 10 runs and nine RBI and junior center fielder Nathan Gray (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) has nine hits in his last 14 at-bats and is hitting .325 with 10 runs scored, 12 driven in, 24 total bases and a team-high six doubles.

Senior left-hander Seth Davis (Mullen HS, Aurora, Colo.) leads the Augustana staff with three wins, 23 1/3 innings pitched and 32 strikeouts. He’s completed two of three starts and is 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Sophomore Kyle McGinley (Mullen HS, Denver, Colo.) is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 17 innings and junior Walter White (East Peoria HS, East Peoria, Ill.) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA. White has fanned 16 in 12 innings.

Sophomore Cooer SantAmour (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) and junior Darwin Townsend (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) have been Wallace’s stalwarts out of the bullpen. SantAmour has a team-high six appearances and has three saves and a 3.14 ERA in 14 1/3 innings. Townsend has allowed just one hit over 8 2/3 innings in four appearances and sports a 1.04 ERA.

03/07/15—AUGUSTANA 13, CARLETON 9; AUGUSTANA 8, LUTHER 2

Vikings defeat Carleton and Luther in Jacksonville, Illinois

JACKSONVILLE, Ill. – The Midwest winter broke just in time for Augustana get in a pair of baseball games Saturday at Lenz Field and Coach Greg Wallace’s Vikings made the most of the opportunity, recording wins over Carleton and Luther.

Augustana improved to 7-3 on the year and will head back to Florida for four more games on March 12-15.

AUGUSTANA 13, CARLETON 9

A seven-run fifth provided the Vikings with enough offense to get a 13-9 win over the Knights on a day when staff ace Seth Davis (Mullen HS, Aurora, Colo.) wasn’t at his best. Davis battled through 5 1/3 innings to pick up his third win in as many starts and sophomore Cooper SantAmour (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) threw the final 3 2/3 to earn his third save of the season.

The game was tied at 5-5 through four and a half innings. Junior catcher John Swiderski (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) led off the bottom of the fifth with a single to center and capped the scoring with an RBI double later in the frame. In between, freshman first baseman Tommy Kiriakolpoulos (Huntley HS, Lake in the Hills, Ill.) drove in a run when he reached on an error, junior shortstop Alex Fluehr (Harlem HS, Loves Park, Ill.) delivered a two-run single, junior center fielder Nathan Gray (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) doubled in a run and senior left field Danny Fifer (Lincoln-Way West HS, New Lenox, Ill.) doubled in two.

Carleton came right back to touch Davis for four runs in the top of the six and cut the Viking lead to 12-9, but SantAmour came out of the pen to finish the inning and then held the Knights without a hit over the final three frames. Swiderski’s leadoff homer in the eighth accounted for the game’s final run.

Carleton took a 1-0 lead in the second before Augustana put three on the board in the third. Nolan Baker’s three-run homer keyed a four-run Knight fourth and the Vikings countered with two in the bottom half to tie it at 5-5.

Led by three each from Gray and Swiderski, Augustana banged out 15 hits. Six Vikings scored two runs each and Fifer drove in three to lead four Vikings with multiple RBI. Davis gave up nine hits and nine runs, but fanned eight. SantAmour gave up a hit to the first batter he faced, but none the rest of the way. He walked one and struck out three.

AUGUSTANA 8, LUTHER 2

Gray added three more hits and four Augustana pitchers combined on a five-hitter as the Vikings won their second game of the day 8-2 over the Norse.

Swiderski’s RBI groundout gave Wallace’s club a 1-0 lead after a half inning and Augustana jumped on Luther for five more in the third. Gray started things with a one-out double to left and eventually scored on a passed ball. Senior Jacques Camalick (Hinsdale Central HS, Burr Ridge, Ill.) drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and sophomore Mitchel Ruh (Hinckley-Big Rock HS, Big Rock, Ill.) singled in another. Fluehr capped the scoring with a two-run single to right.

After Gray’s leadoff double led to a Viking run in the top of the fourth, Luther did its only damage against starter Kyle McGinley (Mullen HS, Denver, Colo.), scoring a pair in the bottom half. The Augustana sophomore threw a scoreless fifth and sixth before exiting in favor of senior Kevin Hodgman (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) to start the seventh. Hodgman and juniors Walter White (East Peoria HS, East Peoria, Ill.) and Darwin Townsend (Libertyville HS, Libertyville, Ill.) each threw one hitless inning to close the game out.

Gray doubled twice among his three hits and scored two runs. Swiderski had a triple, score twice and drove in two.

Camalick added a pair of hits as well. McGinley struck out 10 and gave up just five hits and one walk in his six innings. He picked up the win to improve to 2-1 on the season.

03/02/15 – AUGUSTANA 4, ALVERNIA 1

Vikings beat Alvernia 4-1 to leave Florida with 5-3 record

FT. MYERS, Fla. – A solid pitching combination of sophomores Kyle McGinley (J.K. Mullen HS, Denver, Colo.) and Cooper SantAmour (Moline HS, Moline, Ill.) and junior Nathan Gray’s (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) bat helped Augustana defeat Alvernia 4-1 on Monday, March 2 in Ft. Myers, Florida. With the victory the Vikings ended their first spring break trip with a 5-3 record.

McGinley took the mound as the starter and worked 5 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks. He left the game in the top of the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead and ended up being the winning pitcher.

SantAmour entered the game with one out and two runners on in the sixth. He struck out the two batters he faced in the sixth to end the threat and then pitched three more innings to finish the contest. He picked up his second save of the year by allowing just one hit and a walk while striking out three in 3 2/3 innings of work.

Gray came up big at the plate with three hits, including a pair of doubles, and three runs-batted-in. He blasted a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth with two outs that broke open a scoreless game. His hit down the right field line drove in junior Alex Fluehr (Harlem HS, Loves Park, Ill.) and senior Brandon Jasper (Central DeWitt HS, DeWitt, Iowa).

Fluehr singled to center with one out, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Jasper walked in front of Gray’s double.

Alvernia cut the lead in half in the top of the sixth but the Vikings answered with a run in the bottom of the frame. Junior John Swiderski (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) opened things with a single to right field and went to second on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of junior Trace Gingerich (Sherrard HS, Sherrard, Ill.). He moved to third on a single to left by senior Kyle Lenihan (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) and scored on a ground out by junior Jeff Prior (Rock Canyon HS, Lone Tree, Colo.).

Gray’s one out double to right center in the seventh scored Fluehr, who had singled to lead things off, with the fourth run of the game.

Gray led the offense with three hits and Jasper and Fluehr each had two.

03/01/15—AUGUSTANA 12, NORTHLAND 0

Vikings beat Northland 12-0 to move over .500 on the year

FT. MYERS, Fla. – One day after giving head coach Greg Wallace his 500th victory at his alma mater, the Augustana baseball team left no doubt in win number 501 with a 12-0 win over Northland on Sunday, March 1 in Ft. Myers, Florida.

The Vikings clubbed 16 hits and used two big innings as they moved over the .500 mark for the season at 4-3.

After two scoreless innings, Augustana put four runs on the board in the top of the third inning with a three run home run off the bat of junior catcher John Swiderski (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) providing the big blow.

The Vikings added a run in the fourth senior Kyle Lenihan (Romeoville HS, Romeoville, Ill.) singled to lead things off and eventually scored on a sacrifice bat from junior Alex Fluehr (Harlem HS, Loves Park, Ill.).

A three run double by junior Trace Gingerich (Sherrard HS, Sherrard, Ill.) was the key blow in a six run sixth that broke the game wide open. Augustana added another run in the seventh and cruised to the 12-0 win.

Junior Walter White (East Peoria HS, East Peoria, Ill.) got the victory. He worked six strong innings as the starter and give up just four hits and two walks while striking out six. Senior Kevin Hodgman (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) worked the final three innings and gave up just one hit and struck out three.

Swiderski had four RBI and two runs scored while freshman Timmy Kiriakopoulos (Huntley HS, Lake-in-the-Hills, Ill.) had three hits and scored three runs. Senior Brandon Jasper (Central DeWitt HS, DeWitt, Iowa), senior Danny Fifer (Lincoln-Way West HS, New Lenox, Ill.), Gingerich and Lenihan had two hits each. Gingerich knocked in three runs.

Augustana will be back in action on Monday, March 2 with a game against Alvernia at 10:00 a.m. at Terry Park in Ft.Myers.