Western Oregon Gets Hot Start To GNAC Play
Western Oregon pitching has combined for 52 strikeouts in 56 innings this season.
Western Oregon pitching has combined for 52 strikeouts in 56 innings this season.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

PORTLAND, Ore. -- In the first week of the season, two series were split while Western Oregon gained some early separation in the standings with a series win against Montana State Billings.

The Wolves won the first three games of the four-game set and leads 7-0 in the fourth game which will have to be finished in April when the Wolves go to Montana.

Central Washington and Saint Martin’s each won two games against each toher and the same happened for Northwest Nazarene and Concordia.

Central Washington’s Mackenzie Gaul threw his second shutout of the season with 13 strikeouts in the victory to earn this week’s Pitcher of the Week honors. As a team, Central Washington now has three shutouts, which ranks sixth in Division II.

Concordia’s Eddie Vasquez only got 10 plate appearances in the Cavaliers’ four-game series, but the sophomore infielder recorded, six singles, a home run and a walk to help Concordia win the final two games of the series and earn the GNAC Player of the Week honor.

This week, Montana State Billings will play at Saint Martin’s and Central Washington will be at Northwest Nazarene. The Oregon schools will also play each other with Western Oregon at Concordia.


Eddie Vasquez, Concordia
IF • 5-8 • So. • Ventura, Calif.

Vasquez batted .778 (7 for 9) to lead the Cavaliers to a split of their four-game GNAC series with Northwest Nazarene. He went 3 for 4 with a RBI in Thursday’s opener, hit a solo home run to open Concordia’s 2-1 win in Friday’s opener and went 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI in the Friday nightcap.

Also Nominated: Dylan Freyre (Central Washington), Steven Sordahl (Saint Martin’s).

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

Gaul collected his second complete game shutout in as many weeks, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out 13 over seven innings in the Wildcats’ 10-0 win over Saint Martin’s on Saturday. Gaul leads the GNAC with a 2-1 record, 1.44 earned run average and 31 strikeouts in 25 innings.

Also Nominated: Aaron Shoup (Saint Martin’s), Jake Brewer (Concordia).


• The Wildcats earned a split against Saint Martin’s, winning the second and third games of the four-game series. The Wildcats have now won seven of their last 10 games.
• Central Washington leads the conference in overall wins with eight this season with at least one win in all four series this year.
• Mackenzie Gaul picked up his second seven-inning shutout of the season in Central Washington’s 10-0 victory against Saint Martin’s to earn GNAC Pitcher of the Week honors. he struck out 13 batters with just two hits allowed.
• Dylan Freyre leads the Wildcats in batting average at .436, including a double, triple and home run in 10 games played. He also leads the team in on-base percentage at .463 after reaching base in all four plate appearances in the 10-0 victory against Saint Martin’s
• Connor Plaisance leads the team in slugging percentage at .642 with 10 extra-base hits, including a triple and two home runs. He has also scored a team-best 10 runs.
• The Central Washington pitching leads the conference in earned run average at 3.03. Jake Levin has an ERA of 1.69 and he joins Gaul as the only pitchers in the GNAC with two wins this season. As a team, the Wildcats rank 28th in the nation.
• This week, Central Washington will play a four-game set at Northwest Nazarene on Friday and Saturday. The Wildcats swept the Crusaders near the end of the regular season last year.

• Concordia split with Northwest Nazarene in the opening weekend of GNAC play, winning the second two games of the four-game series after getting swept in the Firday doubleheader.
• Jake Brewer picked up his first win of the season in the third game of the series. Brewer threw a one-run complete-game with 12 strikeouts and just six hits allowed.
• In the series finale, Sam Gillenwater threw five innings of two-run ball to pick up his first win of the year. Ryan Caylor came in for the final six outs, getting four of them with strikeouts to earn the save in the 6-2 victory.
• Eddie Vasquez missed the first three series of the season before making his 2017 debut against Northwest Nazarene. The sophomore went 7 for 9 with a walk and a home run in the series to be named GNAC Player of the Week.
• Leadoff hitter Cole Crosby is batting .333 this season, which leads the Cavaliers. Crosby has a double and two triples along with six walks and a hit by pitch to rase his on-base percentage to .415.
• James Brooks got his first start of the season after four successful relief appearances to start the season. Brooks walked seven batters and hit one by a pitch, giving up six runs in 4.1 innings. Brooks still leads the Cavaliers in ERA at 3.63 in five outtings this season.
• Concordia will host Western Oregon this weekend in a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

• Montana State Billings had its losing streak extended to six games after losing the first three conference games against Western Oregon last week.
• The fourth game of the series was halted due to darkness and will be finished when Western Oregon goes to Montana State Billings in April. The Wolves lead 7-0 in the fourth.
• Montana State Billings continues to shuffle its lineup with only six players having played in at least 10 of the 13 games this season. Zach Robinson and Matt Dillon are the only players that have not missed a game so far this season.
• Zach Robinson leads the team in batting average at .378  with a .472 on-base percentage. Of his 17 hits, four have been doubles and he has come around to score 11 times.
• Kade Hall leads the team in slugging percentage at .574 with four doubles, a triple and two home runs. Montana State Billings leads the comnferece in home runs with 11, which ranks in the top 100 in the nation so far this year.
• Cody Cooper struck out two batters in 3.2 innings of work in the series opener. Cooper took sole possession of eigth place all-time in GNAC strikeouts with 177. He needs two more to tie Kirk Lind from Western Oregon (2007-09) for seventh place. Copper also moved up to fifth all-time in conference games only surpassing Blake Keitzman and Mike Eisenhauer. He needs three more to move into a tie for third place.
• Matt Hape has yet to earn his first victory this year, but has a team-best 5.09 earned run average with nine strikeouts in 17.2 innings of work. He threw 5.1 innings  with four strikeouts and only three runs allowed against Western Oregon in the second game of the series.
• This week, the Yellowjackets will play at Saint Martin’s with doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday, looking to end the six-game losing streak.

• Northwest Nazarene opened conference play with two consecutive 6-3 wins against Concordia before dropping the final two games of the series.
• Ross Clevenger threw seven innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts to earn the first victory. Only 10 of the 29 batters faced reached base with eight fly outs and four ground outs.
• Jaramy Jacobs also picked up his first win of the season wtih six shutout innings with eight strikeouts and only two hits allowed. Jacobs has 19 strikeouts in 16 innings this year. As a team, the Crusaders rank 73rd in strikeouts per game in the nation and second in the GNAC.
• Brett Nielsen has six doubles this season, which leads the Crusaders. He also has a team-best slashline of .395/.632/.452 this year.
• Senior Andrew Helmstadter has now started in 155 games in his career at NNU, which ranks in the top 20 in GNAC history. He also ranks in the top 20 for at-bats and top 10 for doubles, triples, hit by pitch and sacrifice flies. In total bases, Helmstadter now ranks 17th with 257.
• 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 Crusaders will host a four-game series next week against Central Washington with double headers on Friday and Saturday. Northwest Nazarene won three of four games the last time it hosted a series against Central Washington.

• The Saints earned a split against the conference’s overall wins leader Central Washington winning the first and last games of the series.
• The Saints won the first game in extra innings 3-2 on a sacrifice fly by Makana Aiona that drove Austin Feist home. Feist reached on a hit by pitch and advanced to third base on a double by Adam Eskil.
• Aaron Shoup threw nine innings with just two runs allowed. He struck out eight batters and only allowed six hits and one walk in the no-decision. Luke Hare retired four of the five batters he faced in relief to earn the win and Eskil came in for the final two outs to earn his GNAC-best third save this season.
• 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.
• Mickey Walker earned his first win of the season in the series finale with six innings of two-run ball with three strikeouts to lead the Saints to a 7-4 win.
• Ryan Dourney leads the Saints in ERA at 2.45, which ranks third in the GNAC. He has thrown 10 strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work this season with an opponents’ batting average of .246 in three outings.
• The Saints will host Montana State Billings in a four-game set that is two doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday. Saint Martin’s won just one of eight gmaes agaisnt the Yellowjackets last season.

• Western Oregon won the conference opening series against Montana State Billings, but has not completed the sweep. The Wolves won the first three games and led 7-0 in the fourth game, when it was halted for darkness. The game will be finished when Western Oregon goes to Montana State Billings in April.
• Western Oregon now leads the GNAC standings with a 3-0 conference record as the Wolves look to get back to their winning ways. They won the first 13 GNAC regular season titles in a row before narrowly missing the title each of the last two years.
• Justin Wakem remains the Wolves’ leader in batting average at .455 thanks to his 10 singles this season. He also has an on-base percentage of .556. Wakem leads the GNAC in both categories.
• Defending GNAC Pitcher of the Year Brady Miller picked up his first win of the year with six innings pitched with one earned run allowed. He struck out nine batters and allowed only three hits.
• Elias Bedolla picked up the second win with 4.1 shutout innings with three strikeouts. Cam Walker entered the game in relief to retire the last three batters and earn his first save of the season. Shawn Domke retired five of six batters faced and has not allowed a run in two appearances this season.
• Western Oregon will play a Saturda-Sunday doubleheader against Concordia under the lights with both doubleheaders beginning at 4:30 p.m.