Augustana earns No. 1 seed for this week's NSIC softball tournament

Vikings going for another NCAA berth; USF Cougars are 8th seed and will face Concordia in Wednesday play-in game

Augustana's Gracey Brink fouls off a pitch in Game 2 of their NSIC double header against USF on Tuesday, April 11, 2023 at Bowden Field in Sioux Falls.
Matt Zimmer/Forum News Service

SIOUX FALLS — The Augustana softball team won its third straight NSIC regular season title and will be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which kicks off Wednesday in Rochester, Minn.

The Vikings entered Sunday's double header trailing Minnesota Duluth by a game in the standings but swept them 17-4 and 16-11 in Duluth to nip the Bulldogs for the conference crown. The Vikings finished 23-5 in NSIC play (36-13 overall) while UMD finished 22-6 in the NSIC and 36-11 overall.

The NSIC tournament runs through Saturday in Rochester and includes the 16-team league's top 10 teams. The winner receives an automatic bid to the Division II NCAA tournament.

The bracket for the NSIC softball tournament, which runs Wednesday through Saturday in Rochester, Minn.
Northern Sun Conference

USF (24-24, 15-14) earned the No. 8 seed in the tournament and will face Concordia-St. Paul in one of the play-in games on Wednesday at 10 a.m. The winner of that game then plays Augustana at 2 p.m.

Minot State and Bemidji State face off in a Beaver-battle in the other play-in game, with the winner getting the second-seeded Bulldogs.


The championship of the double-elimination tournament is set for noon on Saturday.

The Vikings are pursuing their 10th NCAA tournament berth since 2010. They won their third regional championship last year, and were national champions in 2019.

This year's squad has been an offensive juggernaut, with a team batting average of .368. Torri Chute leads the Vikings with a .450 average to go with 9 home runs, while Delaney Young (.421, 8 homers), Kennedy Buckman (.367, NSIC-high 20 homers), Liz Dierks (.395), Abby Lien (.367, 8 homers), Andrea Cain (.366, 8 homers) and Gracey Brink (.356, 9 homers) have also swung big bats. Hailey Houston (17-4, 2.63 ERA) and Lexi Lander (16-7, 3.15) have been coach Gretta Melsted's top pitchers.

USF has been led by Lexie Swift (.382), Kyle Madrid (.352, 5 homers), Kennedy Thomas (.343, 8 homers) and two-way star Kait Van Der Zwaag, who checks in with a .299 average and nine home runs while going 15-7 in the circle.

Matt Zimmer is a Sioux Falls native and longtime sports writer. He graduated from Washington High School where he played football, legion baseball and developed his lifelong love of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. After graduating from St. Cloud State University, he returned to Sioux Falls, and began a long career in amateur baseball and sports reporting. Email Matt at
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