Baseball: WOU's Watkins Earns Regional Pitcher Award
Watkins helped lead Western Oregon to a four-game sweep of Northwest Nazarene.
Watkins helped lead Western Oregon to a four-game sweep of Northwest Nazarene.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - Western Oregon pitcher Spenser Watkins has been selected the National College Baseball Writers Association West Region Pitcher of the Week. 

Last Friday Watkins (6-1, 185, Jr., Scottsdale, AZ) blanked Northwest Nazarene 6-0 on five hits, while fanning a GNAC season-high 12 batters. 

WOU went on to sweep the four-game series catapulting the Wolves into 10th place in this week's NCBWA West Regional poll.  The Wolves (23-5, 18-6) currently have a two-game lead over Central Washington (23-15, 14-6) in the GNAC race.

Spencer leads the GNAC in both earned run average (3.07) and wins (6). He was also selected the GNAC Pitcher of the Week.

Sharing the GNAC Player of the Week award were third baseman Marc Garza of Central Washington and Western Oregon catcher Scott David. 

For more details on the Player of the Week winners check out the GNAC Weekly baseball report.

GOING DEEP: Central Washington catcher Kyle Sani hit three home runs – increasing his season total to 10 – and drove in seven runs as the Wildcats won series with Northwest Nazarene (3-1) and Oregon Tech (3-1).  Sani currently ranks eighth in the country in home runs, but just second in the GNAC.  Saint Martin’s catcher Chandler Tracy ranks third in the country with 12, including one in the Saints’ series at Montana State Billings.  Tracy went five for 11 in the series, extending his hitting streak to 10 games.

RUE STREAK AT 19:  Chandler’s streak is the second longest current streak in the GNAC.  Outfielder Austin Rue of Montana State Billings has hit in 19 straight, which is the seventh longest in GNAC history.  Mario Sanelli of Saint Martin’s had the longest streak last year hitting in 20 straight contests. The GNAC record is 32 by Western Oregon’s Grant Glover in the 2010 (30 games) and 2011 (2 games) seasons.  Rue kept his streak alive last week even though he had only three hits in 12 at bats.

PITCHING DOMINATES AT MSUB: DH Mack Unruh led MSU Billings with four hits in nine at bats as the Yellowjackets’ won two of three low-scoring games with Saint Martin’s.  After dropping the opener 3-2, MSUB won a pair of games by 5-2 and 5-3 scores on Sunday.  The fourth game was cancelled.  MSUB’s Samuel Patterson pitched a six-hitter, fanning seven in Sunday’s first game.  Travis Vincent allowed just one hit in 3 1/3 innings to win the nightcap.  Saint Martin’s Brendan Jeffers earned the win in the first game which started on Saturday and finished on Sunday.  Jeffers allowed just five hits in 6 1/3 innings before Zach Carter pitched the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and one run, to record the save.

AROUND THE GNAC: In addition to Scott David, Western Oregon was led offensively by outfielder Matt Nylen, who had seven hits in 14 at bats, and shortstop Blake Miller in its sweep of Northwest Nazarene.  Miller scored a team-high six runs and drove in five.  Outfielder Tim Rausch had six RBI for the Wolves ... WOU’s pitching staff carved out a 1.12 ERA. All four starters got wins including Watkins, Gary Steindorf (1 unearned run, 2 hits in 6 innings), Zach Nuno (5 hits, 1 run in 7 innings) and A.J. Burke (10 hits but just two runs in seven innings) ... Catcher Jamie Mitchell and third baseman Jon Matos each had four hits to pace Northwest Nazarene against WOU.  In eight games including its series with Central Washington, Mitchell had 10 hits in 30 at bats.