Furious 9th inning rally falls short for Augustana in 5-4 loss to MSU-Mankato in Super Regional
The Vikings scored four runs in the 9th and almost a fifth, but a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch was waved off, and now Augustana must win twice Saturday to advance
Augustana almost pulled off an epic comeback in Game 1 of the Division II Super Regional on Friday night at Ronken Field.
Trailing MSU-Mankato 5-0 going to the 9th, Augustana pushed across four runs and loaded the bases with two outs, hoping to at least force extra innings or walk-off the win.
For a moment, it looked like they had done the former, as Ragan Pinnow was hit by a pitch to temporarily bring home the tying run. But the home plate umpire ruled that Pinnow leaned across the plate in an effort to intentionally get hit, and the call was upheld after a video review. Mankato 5, Augustana 4.
The Mavericks can clinch a berth in the Division II World Series with a win Saturday at 1 p.m. The Vikings will try to force a rubber game, which would be held right after Game 2.
A Ronken Field-record crowd of 723 fans was on hand, and that, coupled with the gorgeous weather, created a spectacular atmosphere for what's become a fierce rivalry between the NSIC foes. But the Viking bats didn't show up until it was too late.
After Mavs' starter Nathan Culley left with an injury in the second inning, lefty Dylan Gotto came on and kept the Vikings scoreless into the 9th. He finally ran out of gas, with Augie rallying behind a two-run double from Jack Hines and RBI singles by Trevor Winterstein and Nick Banowetz. But Spencer Wright came on to get the final two outs, including the strikeout of Pinnow to end it.
Gotto earned the win, improving to 12-2 on the year. Wright was credited with his third save.
Caleb Saari (6-4) took the loss for the Vikings, allowing three runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings. The Mavs struck for two runs in the first, a single run in the fourth and two more in the top of the 8th that proved crucial.
Matt Fleischhacker had three RBI for the Mavs, while Ryan Wickman and Mikey Gottschalk had two hits apiece.