MSUB Eyes Playoff Berth, WOU's Miller Region Player of Week
Blake Miller was selected Regional Player of the Week
Blake Miller was selected Regional Player of the Week

Thursday, April 25, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - Montana State Billings wraps up its 2013 GNAC conference baseball season this weekend with a four-game series against Central Washington.

The Yellowjackets (18-24, 14-13) can extend their season with one win in the four-game series which begins Friday at Dehler Park.  A single win would assure the Yellowjackets no worse than the No. 3 seed in the conference playoffs which will be held May 9-10 at either Monmouth or Ellensburg.

MSUB, which could finish as high as second, can also grab a playoff berth if Northwest Nazarene (20-25, 11-17) loses one of its four games next week at Saint Martin's (5-35, 3-20).

Central Washington (26-16, 17-7) also has a lot on the line.  The Wildcats currently trail Western Oregon (25-17, 18-6) by one game in the conference standings.  The regular-season champion will host the tournament.    The Wolves are hosting SMU in a four-game series this weekend.

The conference tournament will involve three teams.  They'll each play two games on Thursday (May 9).  If all three teams split in the opening round, the No. 1 seed will earn a bye into the champship game.

GNAC Championships (May 9-10 at site of regular-season champion):  Thursday - #3 seed vs. #1 seed, 10 a.m.; #3 seed vs. #2 seed, 1 p.m.; #2 seed vs. #1 seed, 4 p.m.  Friday – Game 4 at noon; Game 5 at 3 p.m. (If all three teams finish round-robin play with 1-1 record, #1 seed receives bye into Game 5).

WOU's Blake Miller Regional Player of the Week

Western Oregon shortstop Blake Miller has been selected the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association West Region Player of the Week.

Miller had 11 hits in 15 at bats as the Wolves split a four-game series with NAIA power Lewis-Clark State last weekend.  Miller scored six runs and drove in nine.  He had seven singles, two doubles, one triple and one home run.

He shared the GNAC Red Lion Baseball Player of the Week award with Austin Rue of Montana State Billings who had nine hits in 15 at bats and produced a team-high 13 runs (scoring eight and driving in five) in extending his hitting streak to 23 games, the fourth longest in GNAC history. 

Rue also walked five times from his leadoff slot in the lineup, posting a .714 on-base percentage, and did not strike out as MSUB split a four-game series with Northwest Nazarene. Two of his hits were doubles. 

MSUB pitcher Samuel Paterson, who tossed a three-hit shutout in a 16-0 win over Northwest Nazarene was selected the GNAC Pitcher of the Week.

AROUND THE GNAC: Kody Stone of Western Oregon has 11 saves, one short of the GNAC record of 12 set by Kaleb Wilson of Saint Martin's in 2011.  Stone ranks second nationally in saves ... Saint Martin's catcher Chandler Tracy takes a 14-game hitting streak into this weekend's series at WOU ... No GNAC team was ranked in this week's inaugural NCAA West Region Top 10 poll.  Six teams will qualify for the playoffs.  The GNAC does not receive an automatic berth.

For more GNAC baseball news check out the GNAC Weekly Report.