MAGNOLIA, Ark. – The No. 13 Southern Arkansas baseball team took the four-game series, 3-1, against Augustana College as SAU split Monday’s doubleheader, winning the first game 2-1, but falling in the nightcap, 5-1.
The opening game of Monday’s twin-bill played in stark contrast to the first two games of the series as pitching took to the forefront with both starting pitchers battling it out in a pitcher’s duel.
Timothy Buchanan was the starter for the Muleriders (3-1), and the sophomore left-hander would work seven strong innings before turning the game over to reliever Preston Gray. Gray later earned the save after he worked the final two innings without allowing a single base runner.
In his time on the mound, Buchanan (1-0) allowed one earned run, scattered seven hits, walked and hit one batter, while striking out four. Buchanan also helped his own cause by picking off two attempted base stealers.
The Muleriders would give Buchanan both runs of support in the first inning as Zach Costa singled up the middle with the bases loaded to score Tyler Cameron and Jon Phillips. Both Cameron and Phillips had reached base with singles to star the frame.
After that first inning, the Mulerider offense was limited to just two hits for the rest of the game as the Vikings’ (1-3) starter Tyson Gau settled in and kept Augustana in the game. Gau (0-1) would pitch five complete innings before giving way to reliever Derek Quame, who would work the final three innings and surrender just one hit.
In the fourth inning, the Vikings scratched across their lone run of the game as Marcus ONeill lined out to left field with the bases loaded to score Alex Fink. After that, the Vikings were still threatening with a couple of runners on, but the threat was extinguished during the next at bat when Buchanan got the first of his two pick offs as he wheeled around to second base to pick Kye Winter trying to steal third.
In the nightcap, the Vikings’ pitchers continued to quiet the Muleriders’ bats as three pitchers combined to limit SAU to just three hits over the seven-inning contest.
The first of those hits for the Muleriders came in the first inning as Carver Rademacher doubled home Tyler Cameron to tie the game at one-all. The other two hits came in the sixth inning Cameron and Rademacher each singled, but a strikeout of Costa ended the frame.
A single run by the Vikings in the second inning broke the early one-all tie. Augustana would add another run in the third on a solo homerun and two more in the sixth to account for their five runs in the game.
The Muleriders will now prepare to hit the road for a significant non-conference series against No.4/11 Texas A&M-Kingsville. The three-game series is set to begin with a doubleheader on Friday, February 7. First-pitch is set for 3 p.m.