Baseball sweeps USF in three-game series

The Vikings’ baseball team knocked out USF over three games May 1-2. On Monday, May 2, the players won 12-2 against the Cougars. The Vikings were able to hold USF to two fewer runs than the Sunday evening game.

On Sunday, May 1, Augustana won both doubleheader games, first by 2-0 and the second at 12-4. The team’s overall record is 39-7-1 for the season.

Senior night was between the doubleheader games, where the Vikings’ celebrated a total of 13 seniors, including JT Mix, Tanner Brown, Jordan Barth and Jaxon Rosencranz.

The team is scheduled to play another three-game series against Minnesota State University Mankato May 6-7. This series is the last of the NSIC regular season as they head into the NSIC Championship tournament on May 11.

The team is currently ranked number one in NSIC and second in NCAA regionals.

As the seniors finish out their regular season play, the team is looking forward to the rest of the season.

Senior JT Mix, an infielder, and sophomore Caleb Kranz, a pitcher, both said they were happy with the outcome of the weekend.

Caleb Kranz:

The first game against USF had a score of 2-0, and the second was 12-4. What was that leap ahead like?

I think the difference in the scores doesn’t really show the true way these games were played. We knew we were capable of sweeping USF but we wouldn’t be able to just show up and win, and the score of the first game shows that. Sometimes you can do everything right and still not score as many runs as you should. The biggest difference between the two games I would say is we strung together hits better and had another good performance on the mound by Caleb [Saari] to compliment that. Momentum on defense transferred to our offense and vice versa.

What are you looking forward to with your baseball career as a Viking?

Moving forward as a Viking, I hope to make a deep playoff run and make an appearance in Cary. We have the talent and experience to put everything together and have a realistic chance of making it there. I’m looking forward to sharing these experiences with the team and being able to celebrate all the ups and downs of the season as well as work hard with them in the off season.

What are the team’s strengths to finish out this season? 

To finish the season the way we all hope to, I think we just have to keep playing our game. Our starters have consistently kept us in games throughout the season and allowed our offense to produce the run support needed. If we keep hitting the ball well and doing all of the little things right, we will keep winning games. Our bullpen has also been able to come into games and close the door, which is crucial for close contests.

Do you have any personal goals for the rest of the season/next? Do you have any goals by the time you are a senior? 

The only goal I have is to keep contributing to the team in any way I can. In order to make it where we want to be, everyone is going to have to do their part no matter what that may look like. We are graduating a lot of guys next year, but we still have a solid core returning as well. Next season I hope to be able to show the freshmen how Augie baseball is played and continue to find success.

JT Mix:

The first game against USF had a score of 2-0, and the second was 12-4. What was that leap ahead like?

Game one we had a lot of hard hit balls that just weren’t falling. Nothing really changed at the plate for us besides the fact that those hard hit balls were finding the grass. Our pitchers did what they have been doing all season in shutting down the opposing team, and the hitters were just able to take care of business and manufacture runs like we know how to at the plate. 

As a senior, what has your baseball career meant to you at Augustana?

I’ve been fortunate enough to play with the best teammates in the country for the past five years, and we’ve been able to win a ton of ballgames. I wouldn’t trade my experience playing here for anything, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to play baseball for Augie.

How was Senior Day? What are your next steps after Augustana?

It was a great experience being able to share it with the 13 other seniors who have contributed so much to the program. After Augie, I will be returning to my hometown of Dallas, Texas. But that can wait because we have a lot more to accomplish this season.

What are your teammates’ greatest strengths?

We pride ourselves on being a tight-knit group with every guy on the team working as hard as they can for the guy next to them. That mentality is what has taken this program to the next level, and that is the primary factor that we contribute to our success this season. 

What advice would you give to the underclassmen players? 

Never take anything for granted. Before you know it, it will be your Senior Day, and you’ll be begging for another year or two of playing more baseball for this team. Work as hard as you possibly can for as long as you are lucky enough to play this game, and I promise you that you will have no regrets when it’s all said and done. Take pride in your work ethic, how you treat other people, and passing down the traditions and culture that have made Augustana baseball such a prestigious baseball program.

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