|Junior first baseman Mitchel Ruh had four hits, including a pair of
doubles, to help lead Augustana to a 10-1 win over Illinois Wesleyan
in the championship game of the CCIW Baseball Tournament.
Augustana athletics photo
MOLINE, Ill. – Senior Chris Sauer (Rock Canyon HS, Littleton, Colo.) tossed a complete game and Augustana clubbed 19 hits as the Vikings defeated Illinois Wesleyan 10-1 in the championship game of the 2016 College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin baseball championship on Sunday, May 15 at Swanson Stadium/Brunner Field. The victory gave head coach Greg Wallace's team the CCIW Tournament title and the automatic berth in the upcoming NCAA Division III National Tournament.
Sauer was outstanding on the hill for the Vikings, who coupled the tournament title with the regular season co-championship won a week ago. Sauer was also the winning pitcher in that game, a 14-5 victory over Millikin at Swanson/Brunner.
On Sunday he scattered eight hits while striking out four and walking just one as he moved his record to 7-2 on the year. He had a shutout until two outs remained in the ninth inning.
The Augustana offense certainly gave him plenty of help with 19 hits, four of them doubles, off four Titan hurlers.
The Vikings were the visitor in this game and wasted no time in giving Sauer some room to work with by scoring twice in the first inning. With two outs senior John Swiderski (Geneva HS, Geneva, Ill.) singled and senior Trace Gingerich (Sherrard HS, Sherrard, Ill.) followed with a single to push Swiderski to third. Junior Mitchel Ruh (Hinckley-Big Rock HS, Hinckley, Ill.) followed with a double down the right field line that fell just out of the reach of Illinois Wesleyan right fielder Ben Manski. Both Swiderski and Gingerich scored on the ply to stake Sauer to a 2-0 lead.
In the third Swiderski scored on a single by sophomore Carter Amundsen (Sheboygan South HS, Sheboygan, Wis.) with two outs and that knocked Titan starter Nick Huskisson out of the game.
The Vikings added three in the top of the fifth and once again, it started with two outs. Ruh singled and Amundsen was hit by a pitch from IWU reliever Ben Rashid. Sophomore Jack Hallmark (Cherry Creek HS, Englewood, Colo.) singled in Ruh and singles by freshman Ryan Kairis (Marist HS, Chicago, Ill.) and senior Alex Fluehr (Harlem HS, Loves Park, Ill.) brought in Amundsen and Hallmark to make it 6-0.
Augustana would add single runs in the sixth and seventh and two in the top of the ninth to salt the game away.
Swiderski and Ruh each had four hits with Ruh driving in four runs and Swiderski two. Seniors Nathan Gray (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) and Jeff Prior (Rock Canyon HS, Lone Tree, Colo.) had two hits each as did Amundsen and Kairis.
The Vikings, who last made an NCAA appearance in 2013, will be making their fifth trip to the national tournament with the others coming in 1999, 2007, 2008 and 2013. This is the third CCIW Tournament title for Greg Wallace's tenure. The other two were in 1999 and 2013.
Augustana is now 30-12 on the season and has won seven games in a row and 12 of their last 13. They will find out where they go in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night. Illinois Wesleyan finished the year 24-19.