Gau becomes Augustana's all-time wins leader
ALEXANDRIA — It was the best Tyson Gau had felt on the mound since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012.
The senior pitcher for Augustana College threw a complete game shutout Sunday, becoming the school’s all-time wins leader. The Alexandria native recorded the 21st victory of his career, breaking a tie Gau had with Owen Hoegh.
“I feel like I have more control and strength in my arm right now than I have since I had the surgery,” said Gau, who is 3-2 this season. “I didn’t know that I was even close to the record. It feels pretty good. I’ve been through a lot and never gave up.”
In the first game of a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference doubleheader against University of Minnesota Crookston Sunday, Gau threw a three-hitter and struck out seven in the 7-0 victory. The right-hander gave up just one hit in the final five innings of the game and 54 of his 74 pitches were strikes.
“The warm weather made my arm feel good, and it felt good to throw the whole game,” Gau said.
The Vikings won the second game of the doubleheader 14-5.
As a freshman, Gau made six starts on the mound and finished 5-1. He appeared in 13 games, making 11 starts and posting a 7-3 record in his sophomore season. In his third season with the Vikings, Gau began with a 3-0 record and logged a team-low 1.23 ERA, but he earned a medical redshirt because of his arm injury.
In his first season returning from surgery as a junior, Gau appeared in six games with four starts and recorded a 3-1 record.
“Last year in his first year back after surgery, he didn’t have the same feel,” Augustana head coach Tim Huber said. “He wasn’t the same pitcher. But from the time the surgery happened, he’s definitely having more control and a better grasp now.”
Despite being the all-time wins leader, Gau said he still doesn’t feel like he’s pitching as well as he should be.
“I keep improving every day to get better because the heart of our conference season is coming up,” said Gau. “I’m not the type of guy who sets goals. I want to put my team in the best position to win because wins and losses are all that matter to me.”
With Sunday’s sweep, the Vikings improved to 17-7 overall and 7-1 in the NSIC. Augustana is on an eight game win streak and is tied with Minnesota State University for first in the conference.
Augustana has never won an NSIC championship and Gau said it’s something this year’s team is capable of capturing.
“We have quite a few seniors on the team and some underclassmen are stepping up,” Gau said. “We have so many leaders on the team and that’s what helps us.”
The Vikings host their next three opponents, beginning with Bemidji State in a doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ronken Field. Augustana hosts Minnesota State University in a four-game series this weekend.
“If we want a chance at the conference title, we’ll have to split at the very minimum with Mankato,” Huber said. “If we play well, we’ve got a shot.”