GNAC Baseball Returns To The Pacific Northwest
Jake Levin has two wins this season for the Wildcats with a 1.83 ERA.
Jake Levin has two wins this season for the Wildcats with a 1.83 ERA.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. -- After playing a combined 50 baseball games on the road, GNAC baseball returns to the Pacific Northwest with a trio of four-game series opening conference play this week.

After taking three of four games last week against Academy of Art, Central Washington is scheduled to host Saint Martin’s if weather allows. The Wildcats lead the GNAC in earned run average at 3.60, which ranks 41st in Division II. With a 6-4 record, they also lead the GNAC standings entering conference play.

The other two series will be played in Oregon with Concordia hosting Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon hosting Montana State Billings. Northwest Nazarene is beginning its defense of the 2016 GNAC title. The Crusaders enter conference play with a 2-6 record. Brett Nielson leads the team in batting average, hitting .417 with seven RBIs.

Western Oregon has played the least of any GNAC teams with only four games under the Wolves’ belt. In that time, Justin Wakem has recorded a .538 batting average, which ranks 35th in the nation. Saint Martin’s picked up three wins last week with the help of a 9-for-19 batting performance by Steven Sordahl, which earned the junior this week’s Player of the Week honors.


Steven Sordahl, Saint Martin’s
OF • 6-0  • Jr. • Kennewick, Wash.

Sordahl went 9 for 19 in the Saints’ four-game series at College of Idaho with five runs, 2 RBIs and a pair of walks. He went 2 for 3 with a run in Sunday’s opener, a 3-2 win for the Saints, and went 2 for 4 in the nightcap. He scored the winning run in the ninth inning for the 4-3 win.

Also Nominated: Caje Golden (Montana State Billings), Dylan Freyre (Central Washington).

Mackenzie Gaul, Central Washington
RHP • 6-0  • Jr. • Winlock, Wash.

Gaul threw a complete game shutout in the Wildcats’ 4-0 win at Academy of Art on Saturday. He allowed four hits and four walks while striking out nine over seven innings. The junior improved to 1-1 on the season and dropped his earned run average to 2.00.

Also Nominated: Corbin Smith (Montana State Billings).


• The Wildcats picked up their fifth win in six games last week after claiming three wins against Academy of Art. Central Washington scored exactly four runs in all four games against the Urban Knights.
• Central Washington remained atop the GNAC standings with a 6-4 overall record going into the conference play.
• The Wildcats opened and closed the series with one-run victories, 4-3. They scored one run on a solo homer by James Smith in the top of the 10th inning to win the first game. In the series finale, CWU scored four runs in the third inning, which proved to be enough for the win.
• In the nightcap of the first double-header, junior Mackenzie Gaul threw a complete-game shutout for his first win of the season. In seven innings, he had nine strikeouts with just four hits and four walks allowed. It is the second Pitcher of the Week honor for the Wildcats this season.
• Dustin Braun leads the team in batting average at .414 with four doubles and a home run. Connor Plaisance is batting .405 with six doubles and two home runs.
• The Central Washington pitching leads the conference in earned run average, paced by Jake Levin who has allowed just four runs in three starts, earning two wins.
• This week, Central Washington will play a four-game set against Saint Martin’s if weather permits. The Wildcats’ on-campus field is still covered in a foot of snow.

• Concordia did not play last week, taking the week off to prepare for the start of conference play in the GNAC.
• In the first two weeks of the season, Concordia has claimed victories over both UC San Diego and Cal State L.A., which are both ranked in the NCBWA West Region Rankings.
• Concordia defeated Cal State L.A. on Saturday to wrap up the trip to St. George, Utah with a 15-7 win. Scott Schepige was credited with the win after five innings of work with just two earned runs allwed. James Brooks got the save with four innings with one earned run allowed and six strikeouts.
• Brooks has now thrown 13 innings with just one earned run allowed, ranking second in the conference in earned run average. He also leads the league in strikeouts with 15. He is the first pitcher in the GNAC this season to record both a win and a save.
• Leadoff hitter Cole Crosby went 4 for 5 in the victory and now leads the GNAC in hits with 12 and RBIs with eight. He also become one of just five players in the GNAC to have hit a triple this season, driving in two runs with a triple.
• Gabe Padukiewicz came around to scored four times against Cal State L.A. He has scored a GNAC-best seven runs this season. Sam Gillenwater tossed 2.2 shutout innings to put out a red-hot Cal State L.A. lineup. He allowed just three hits and struck out one batter.
• Concordia will host Northwest Nazarene in a four-game series played over two days this week to open conference play.  

• Montana State Billings faced another top 15 team last week, dropping three games against No. 15 Dixie State. The Yellowjackets dropped to 2-8 on the season.
• Montana State Billings scored seven of its eight runs in a three-inning stretch during the second game of the series. Designated hitter Kade Hall went 4 for 5 in that game with two runs and an RBI.
• In game one against the Trail Blazers, Cody Cooper struck out eights batters in six innings of work. That gave Cooper 175 career strikeouts, placing the senior at No. 8 on the GNAC’s all-time strikeout leaders list. He also ranks seventh in strikeouts per nine innings with 8.72.
• Zach Robinson leads the team in batting average at .412  with a .474 on-base percentage. Of his 14 hits, 11 have been singles and he has come around to score eight times.
• Hall has a team best 21 total bases with three doubles and a GNAC-best two home runs. He has driven in eight runs, which is also tied for most in the GNAC this season.
• Sam Muskat threw five perfect innings in his collegiate debut to pick up the win against the No. 12 team in the nation. In the second outing of his career, he threw 1.2 innings with one earned run allowed.
• Matt Hape has yet to earn his first victory this year, but has a team-best 5.11 earned run average with five strikeouts in 12.1 innings of work. He threw 5.2 innings with three earned runs allowed against Dixie State.
• This week, the Yellowjackets open conference play at Western Oregon after finishing the 2016 season with a 23-15 record in conference play to share the GNAC regular season title with Northwest Nazarene. The Yellowjackets went ont to finish runner-up at the GNAC Championships.

• Northwest Nazarene did not play last night while preparing for the start of conference play in 2017.
• The Crusaders suffered a four-game sweep against California Baptist to wrap up the team’s trip to California. Last Monday, the Crusaders won the series finale against Cal State L.A. to earn a sweep. Cal State L.A. is ranked No. 8 in the West Region by the NCBWA.
• Kyle Redford had five hits and four walks in the first eight games and came around to score seven times. He is the GNAC leader in runs scored so far this season.
• Jarod Gonzales has five hits this season and all five have gone for extra bases. The senior corner infielder has four doubles and a home run in 27 at bats and has driven in a team-best eight runs. Those eight RBIs are also tied for most in the GNAC this season.
• Ross Clevenger started two games in the first two series taking a loss and a no decision in 10.2 innings of work. He had 10 strikeouts and a team-best .310 opposing batting average.
• Senior Andrew Helmstadter hit a double into centerfield in the third game against California Baptist. It was his 40th career double, becoming the 10th player in GNAC history to reach the milestone. It also gave the designated hitter 254 total bases, which cracks the conference’s top 20 at No. 18.
• Helmstadter was hit by a pitch in the series finale agaisnt California Baptist. It was the 29th time in his career being hit by pitch, which places him in the top 10 in GNAC history in that category.

• The Saints split their second series of the season winning the first and last two games of the five-game set against College of Idaho.
• Tanner Inouye picked up the win in the fourth game of the series in his first start of the season. He threw five innings of two-run ball to lead the Saints to a 3-2 win.
• Steven Sordahl had his season debut against College of Idaho, playing in all five games and recording nine hits in 19 at-bats to earn GNAC Player of the Week honors. All nine hits were singles and he came around to score five times while driving in two runs.
• Alec Hagerman is the team leader in batting average at .375 with three doubles and five runs.  Adam Eskil equals the GNAC-bests in home runs with two and RBIs with eight.
• On the mound, Eskil has recorded two saves, which leads the GNAC this season. He hasn’t allowed a run in 2.1 innings of work.
• Ryan Dourney leads the Saints in ERA at 1.80, which ranks second in the GNAC. He has thrown six strikeouts in 10 innings of work this season with an opponents’ batting average of .206 in two outings.
• The Saints will travel to Central Washington this weekend to play the Wildcats if weather permits.

• Western Oregon did not play last week, taking the week off to prepare for the start of conference play this week.
• Western Oregon dropped both games against UC San Diego the previous week during a rain-soaked weekend in the City of Motion.
• Justin Wakem leads the GNAC in batting average at .538 with seven singles in 13 at bats. He has reached base nine times in four games, but has not scored a run yet this year.
• Connor McCord got the team’s lone win with a 7-5 victory against Fresno Pacific, pitching two shutout innings with two strikeouts in relief.
• Defending GNAC Pitcher of the Year Brady Miller started two games in the first two series of the season, picking up a loss and a no decision. He struck out seven batters in 10 innings pitched.
• Joey Crunkilton had two hits and drove in a run in the second game against the Tritons. He drove in Forest Garcia with a single into right field and advanced to second base on a throwing error.
• Western Oregon will host Montana State Billings to open conference play with a four-game series starting on March 4. Western Oregon reached the GNAC Championships last year with a 24-16 conference record.