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    Augustana BB: Dalton Lehnen signs with New York Yankees, makes professional debut

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Augustana University junior left-handed pitcher Dalton Lehnen has signed with the New York Yankees and will forgo his senior season, the Major League Baseball club announced June 20. Lehnen made his professional debut on June 27 with the Gulf Coast League Yankees West and was later assigned to the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League (Advanced Rookie).
    Lehnen earned the win in his first pro pitching appearance tossing two innings and picking up one strikeout while allowing two hits. He owns a 1-0 record in four appearances (three starts) and has struck out 11 batters in 9.1 innings of work.
    Lehnen, a native of Lakeville, Minnesota, is the ninth player from Augustana to be selected in the MLB Draft and is the highest draft pick in program history. He was the 182nd overall pick in the sixth round of the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft on June 13.  
    He is the fifth Viking to be drafted in the MLB First-Year Player Draft since 2012. Derek Hansen was taken in the 25th round by the Oakland Athletics in 2012 followed by three straight Vikings being selected by the Cleveland Indians in Jordan Milbrath (2013), Jack Goihl (2015) and Michael Letkewicz (2016).
    "Going to Augustana was the best decision I made for my career," Lehnen said. "I wouldn't be the pitcher I am today had it not been for coach Huber and pitching coach Mark Moriarty's ability to help me develop over the past year. I enjoyed my time at Augustana and am excited to start my professional career with the New York Yankees."
    Since 2011, 14 players from Augustana have signed professional contracts under the direction of Viking skipper Tim Huber, including Bret Severtson, Nate Baumann, Drew Heithoff, Derek Hansen, Casey Jacobson, Charlie Dubanoski, Jordan Milbrath, Tony Viger, Kye Winter, Jack Goihl, Michael Letkewicz, Patrick Fiala and Alex Fink.
    "Dalton was a great teammate, a hard worker and he put in a lot of time and effort to improve and get better as a pitcher this year," Huber said. "For a Division I guy to come into a brand new program at the Division II level, it takes a great person to do what he did and handle things with his teammates the way he did this year. Being a high pick, he had numerous scouts following him this season and he handled it with the utmost professionalism. I have nothing but great things to say about Dalton and we will miss having him around for his senior season."
    "I'm also very proud of our baseball program here at Augustana," Huber added. "We have proven over the last five to six years that our detailed process, from fall to the end of spring, has helped our players improve and get to the next level. I hope this is something recruits are noticing and I think our assistant coaches, trainers and strength coaches should be very proud as well. You have to be willing to put in the work, and Dalton was, and from there, anything is possible."
    Lehnen made 11 appearances in 2017 for the Vikings posting a 3-3 record and a 2.60 ERA. He struck out 61 batters in 52 innings of work while walking just 20 batters. Lehnen held opponents to a .183 batting average and struck out five or more batters in 8 of 11 appearances. He struck out eight batters in a game three times and whiffed a season-high nine against Minnesota State on May 5.
    Lehnen joined Augustana in 2017 after spending two seasons at the University of Cincinnati where he appeared in 24 games on the hill. As a freshman in 2015, Lehnen tossed 68 innings picking up 49 strikeouts while walking just 24 batters while starting a team-high 13 games.
    Augustana baseball finished the 2017 season with a record of 37-22, including 29-11 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, which was good for a second-place finish in the final league standings.
    Located in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Augustana University is a member of NCAA Division II and competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.

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