Augustana University’s Sam Baier had nothing short of one of the greatest hitting performances in college baseball history on Friday in the Vikings’ doubleheader annihilation of Bemidji State.
The senior shortstop hit seven home runs across the two games, as the Vikings beat the Beavers 21-0 and 24-0 in Bemidji, Minn.
Baier hit four homers in the opener, breaking the Vikings’ single-game record, then added three more in the nightcap, the last of which was a grand slam. Coming into the game, Baier, a 6-foot, 190-pound four-year starter who was the NSIC freshman of the year in 2017, had hit one home run in the season’s first 14 games, after hitting 17 in his first three-plus seasons.
“It was something, I don’t even know how to describe it,” said Baier, a Springfield, Minn., native. “I wasn’t trying to hit home runs. I just tried to drive them into the gap. The wind was blowing out pretty good and it’s a short park to left and I just managed to put barrels on the ball. I was just trying to see strikes.”
Baier, who became the Vikings’ all-time leader in games played during the double header, had a total of 14 runs batted in on the day.
“It was crazy, just stupid,” marveled Vikings coach Tim Huber. “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen. After his seventh one I looked at the umpire and said ‘have you ever seen anything like this?’ I felt kind of bad because we were kicking the crap out of them, but I wasn’t gonna be the coach to take a guy out when he’s having a day like that.”
And while, yes, the wind was blowing out and the left-field fence is a mere 305 feet down the line, Huber said Baier was being modest in suggesting that was much of a factor.
“Maybe one of the seven would’ve been questionable on a normal day,” Huber said. “He hit a few of ’em more than 420 feet. He was just dialed in. It was one of those days where you’re seeing the ball well, you get a little help from the wind, and he was able to hit everything in the air. Even his takes were good. He was just that locked in.”
Baier got started early, hitting a two-run homer to center in the first inning of the opener. He then launched a 3-run blast to left in the fourth and pulled solo shots to left in the fifth and seventh innings, making him the first Viking ever with a four-homer game.
In the nightcap, Baier hit a solo homer to left-center in the second, ripped an RBI double to the opposite field in the fourth, homered to left in the fifth inning for his sixth round-tripper of the day, then topped off the historic performance by blasting a grand slam over the left field wall in the sixth for his third homer of the game and seventh of the day.
“My first at-bat of the day, the ball looked pretty white,” Baier said. “You can just kind of tell when you’re seeing it like that and it’s gonna be a good day. I just tried to stay within myself and not try too hard. It just happened.”
The hitting display put on by the senior shortstop overshadowed several other spectacular performances, as evidenced by the 45-0 combined score of the games.
Baier had one prior three-homer game to his credit, in the semi-pro Northwoods League where he played for the Willmar Stingers. On Friday, his teammates started giving him the silent treatment midway through his spectacular day, a tradition of teasing that often comes after memorable home runs. But by the time he’d reached six, they were celebrating each homer wildly, knowing they were a part of history.
“They had a lot of fun with it,” Baier said. “It was a good time.”
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Division II player Sam Baier hits seven home runs in doubleheader