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Top Two Teams In The GNAC Set To Meet In Ellensburg
Jay Leverett leads Western Oregon in batting average at .324 with a team-best 11 doubles this season.
Jay Leverett leads Western Oregon in batting average at .324 with a team-best 11 doubles this season.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. -- With two weeks left in the season, the top two teams in the GNAC standings will face each other in Ellensburg, Wash. Western Oregon has a three-game lead over Central Washington in the standings with the season series tied, 2-2. The Wolves can gain an insurmountable lead over CWU in the conference standings with a four-game sweep this weekend.

The Wolves won four of six games in the last week, sweeping doubleheaders against both Concordia and Saint Martin’s to take a four-game winning streak into the series with CWU. Central Washington took three of four games against Northwest Nazarene last week to claim sole possession of second place in the GNAC standings. The Wildcats also have a GNAC-best 26 overall wins this season.

Elsewhere in the GNAC, Saint Martin’s will host Northwest Nazarene as the two teams battle for a spot in the GNAC Championships that begin in two weeks. Montana State Billings is also in the hunt for a playoff spot, playing at Concordia in a Thursday-Friday four-game series. The Yellowjackets enter the series with a three-game winning streak.

Player
Kyle Stahl, Central Washington
UT • 5-9 • Sr. • Huntington Beach, Calif.

Stahl went .600 in the series victory over Northwest Nazarene, going 9 for 15 with three doubles, a home run, five runs, three RBIs and a 1.000 slugging percentage. He went 2 for 4 in Friday’s opening 7-4 win, went 2 for 4 and scored the winning run in Saturday’s 6-5 opening win. Stahl then went 3 for 3 as the Wildcats won 8-7 in the nightcap.

Also Nominated: Nyles Nygaard (Western Oregon), Steven Sordahl (Saint Martin’s), Casey Merritt (Montana State Billings), Colton McCluskey (Northwest Nazarene).

Pitcher
Jake Brewer, Concordia
RHP • 6-6 • Sr. • Sammamish, Wash.
Brewer threw a five-hit complete game victory to help lead the Cavaliers to the 9-2 win in Friday’s opener over Western Oregon as Concordia completed the doubleheader sweep. He gave up two runs on five hits with a walk and 10 strikeouts.

Also Nominated: Trey Smith (Western Oregon), Aaron Shoup (Saint Martin’s), Tristan Shockley (Montana State Billings), Jaramy Jacobs (Northwest Nazarene).

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington has been the hottest team in the GNAC over the last five weeks with a record of 15-5 during that span. Last week, the Wildcats won three of four games against Northwest Nazarene to take sole possession of first place in the GNAC standings.
• Central Washington earned a third consecutive GNAC Player of the Week selection with Kyle Stahl taking the honor for the first time this year. The senior went 9 for 15 with three doubles, a home run, five runs and three RBIs.
• Jake Levin earned his sixth win of the season to tie the league leader in the series opener against Northwest Nazarene. Levin threw seven innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits and five walks with six strikeouts. His ERA dropped to 2.94, which ranks second in the conference.
• Seth Pederson tossed a gem in relief, throwing 3.1 innings of shutout baseball and faced one batter more than the minimum to earn his second win of the season.
• That win came in walk-off fashion as Chris Dalto hit a bases-loaded single to drive in Stahl for the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. The Wildcats also won the series finale by a single run as Dalto shut the door in the final inning to preserve an 8-7 lead.
• Central Washington will host Western Oregon this weekend in a battle for the top spot in the conference standings. The Wildcats trail by three games, so they can move into first place for the first time this season with a sweep.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia earned its two biggest wins of the season last week with a doubleheader sweep of Western Oregon on Friday at Porter Park. The Cavaliers then lost the final two games of the series against the Wolves.
• Jake Brewer led the Cavaliers winning efforts in the series opener, throwing a two-run complete game with 10 strikeouts and five hits for his second win of the year. For his efforts, Brewer was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week. He is the first player from Concordia to receive the honor this season.
• Isiah Terry batted in the three slot in a mixed up lineup for Concordia. The junior took advantage of the opportunity, scoring all three times he reached base with a single, triple and a walk.
• Along with Terry, Reid Penney and Adam Taylor also belted triples into Porter Park’s large outfield. It is the first time this season that a GNAC team has hit three triples in a single game.
• James Brooks retired the side in order in the ninth inning of Concordia’s 5-3 extra-inning victory. It was Brooks’ fourth save of the season and lowered his ERA to 4.65.
• Cole Crosby plated the game-winning run in the second game with the help of a fielding error by the shortstop, allowing Crosby to reach base safely.
• Concordia will host a four-game series against Montana State Billings that will begin on Thursday at Porter Park.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings picked up a crucial series win against Saint Martin’s to claim a four-game lead over the Saints for the fourth and final spot in the GNAC Championships with two weeks to go.
• After dropping the series opener, Montana State Billings won three games in a row, including an 18-5 win that tied the GNAC-season high for most runs in a game. In the process, Montana State Billings scored a run in eight consecutive frames, becoming the first GNAC team this season to do so.
• Montana State Billings did most of the damage with their bats, tallying 38 total bases. Catcher Matt Dillon drilled two home runs for five RBIs. He was also hit by a pitch and came around to score. Casey Merritt reached base in all six plate appearances with two singles, a double and three walks. He picked up his 11th stolen base of the season and scored three times.
• Tristan Shockley had an extended relief appearance in the series finale, throwing the final 5.1 innings of the seven-inning game. He scattered four hits with three strikeouts without any runs allowed to pick up his first win of the season.
• Montana State Billings picked up its first win of the series by scoring five runs in the final two innings to win 6-2. Caje Golden did most of the damage with a solo home run and 2-RBI double in consecutive at-bats.
• Jared Winslow threw two shutout innings in relief to improve his record this season to 3-0 with a 6.16 ERA in seven outtings with 19 innings pitched. That is the most wins without a loss of anyone on the MSUB roster this year.
• The Yellowjackets will travel to Concordia this week for a four-game series that will be played on Thursday and Friday. Montana State Billings currently holds a four-game lead over Saint Martin’s and six-game lead over Concordia for fourth place in the GNAC standings.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene won one of four games against Central Washington over the weekend to secure a split in the season series with both teams winning four games.
• With two weeks left in the season, the Crusaders trail Central Washington by two games for second place and Western Oregon by five games for first place.
• Jaramy Jacobs picked up the Crusaders’ lone win in a 3-2 victory on Friday. Jacobs threw six innings with no earned runs allowed and seven strikeouts. He improved his record to 5-3 and brought his season ERA down to 4.85.
• The lone victory came in NNU’s least offensively productive game, but the three runs scored in the second inning proved to be enough. Spencer Pollock opened the inning with a single, followed by a Kyle Redford double to put runners on second and third with no outs. Brady Baker drove both runs in on a single up the middle and then scored the third run on a double by Jones for a 3-1 lead.
• Billy King racked up six walks in the series, including four during the series opener to become the GNAC leader in walks with 33 to go along with his GNAC-best 11 home runs.
• Andrew Helmstadter tied King for most home runs in the GNAC this year, belting his 11th in the 8-7 loss to Central Washington on Saturday. With the home run, he reached 327 career total bases, cracking the top 10 all-time in GNAC history in that category.
• The Crusaders will travel to Saint Martin’s for a four-game series, where Northwest Nazarene can take a big step towards securing its spot in the GNAC Championships.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• The Saints’ playoff hopes took a big hit last week, dropping five consecutive games against Montana State Billings and Western Oregon. Saint Martin’s now trails Montana State Billings in the standings by four games with 10 games left to play.
• Saint Martin’s won the series opener against Montana State Billings 6-2. Aaron Shoup earned his third win of the season, throwing eight innings with 11 strikeouts. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk. His 11 strikeouts were two shy of the GNAC season high.
• Leadoff hitter Brandon Witherspoon went 3 for 5 with two RBIs and a run in the 6-2 win. Austin Feist also hit a solo home run for the Saints. It was his fourth home run of the season.
• Saint Martin’s gave up 18 runs in Sunday’s opener, which was nine days after the Saints dropped an 18 spot on Central Washington.
• Adam Eskil has a team-best 18 extra-base hits this season, including seven home runs for 74 total bases. His .544 slugging percentage also leads the team this season.
• Steven Sordahl has had 39 of his 44 hits go for singles and he leads the team in batting average at .352, coming around to score 22 times. His on-base percentage is .434, which ranks sixth in the GNAC.
• The Saints’ five game losing streak is their longest of the season and it came right after having won consecutive games for the third time this season.
• Saint Martin’s will host Northwest Nazarene in a four-game series on Friday. The Saints also have one more doubleheader to make up with Western Oregon in the next week. A date and time for that game will be announced.

WESTERN OREGON
• The Wolves dropped two games at Concordia before picking up doubleheader sweeps against Concordia and Saint Martin’s to strengthen their position atop the GNAC standings.
• Western Oregon’s lead over Central Washington remains at three games. The Wolves have 10 games left to play, compared to eight for the Wildcats.
• During the four-game winning streak, Western Oregon help opponents to a total of just five runs. Senior Trey Smith threw a complete-game shutout in the series finale against Concordia to improve his season ERA to a GNAC-best 2.19. It was the first complete-game shutout for Western Oregon this season.
• Freshman Connor McCord threw six innings of one-run baseball in the opening game of the doubleheader with SMU. He struck out four batters and left the game with a no decision. His 2.81 ERA this season now ranks second in the conference.
• Brady Miller also threw a complete game, allowing just one run in seven innings with eight strikeouts. He earned his fourth win of the season in his first complete game.
• Nyles Nygaard went 7 for 14 with a triple, home run and three RBIs in the split against Concordia. He was a double shy of hitting for the cycle in the series finale against Concordia.
• Western Oregon will travel to Central Washington on Friday with a chance to take a commanding lead in the GNAC standings. Following the four-game series with Central Washington, the Wolves still need to make up one more doubleheader against Saint Martin’s. The date for that doubleheader has not yet been set, but it will be a part of a six-game week for Western Oregon on the last week of the regular season.

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