Sam Baier, a senior shortstop for Augustana, hit seven home runs in a doubleheader as the Vikings swept Bemidji State, 21-0 and 24-0, on Friday in Bemidji. The major league record for home runs in a doubleheader is five, shared by Stan Musial and Nate Colbert, and there was no information online for any college or pro player hitting seven home runs in a doubleheader.
"I had three in a game for the Willmar Stingers in the Northwoods League, but never anything like this,'' Baier said Friday night, as he was having dinner with his family in Bemidji.
Baier, a three-sport athlete from Springfield, Minn., including a state wrestling title, said the home run he hit hardest was the last one – a grand slam in the sixth inning of Game 2 that lifted his RBI total for the afternoon to 14.
Baier is a righthanded hitter and there was a wind blowing to left. Tim Huber, in his 13th season as Augustana's coach, said: "There was one that might've been close to staying in without the wind, but the others were crushed. He hit some that were 420 feet.''
In addition to the home run explosion, Baier also set a record for most games played in Augustana baseball with 205. What would have been Baier's senior season in 2020 was shut down by the pandemic after 13 games, and he took advantage of the NCAA rule allowing athletes to return for this extra season.
"You wouldn't know how strong he is by looking at him, but pound for pound (190), he's really strong,'' Huber said. "That's not a surprise, since he was a state champion wrestler."
Baier had one home run in this season's first 14 games and 18 for his ironman career with the Augies, before Friday's explosion.
"Sam's been a streaky hitter for us, but I think he's really figured out some stuff this spring,'' Huber said. "As the home runs mounted today, he didn't really change and start swinging harder. I'm not saying he wasn't trying to hit a home run later on, but you couldn't tell it by watching.''
Baier said: "It was crazy what was going on, but I stuck to my approach. There were a couple down the line, others to left center, a couple to center, another toward right.''
Asked if Bemidji State players ever seemed to be miffed as the score mounted and his slugging continued, Baier said: "As our coach said, he wasn't going to be the one to take me out on a day like this. And Bemidji ... I thought they were very good about it.''
Baier played football and baseball at Springfield, and he wrestled with the Redwood Falls/River Valley co-op. He qualified for three state meets and was the 160-pound champion in Class 1A as a senior in 2016. He broke into Augustana's lineup early in his freshman season and has remained the shortstop for five years, including the Vikings' Division II national title in 2018.
Asked what he was having for dinner with his family on Friday night, Baier said: "Ribs and brisket.''
Sounds like an infusion of protein for Saturday's game to conclude the series in Bemidji.