Wednesday, March 15, 2017
PORTLAND, Ore. -- With another three wins last weekend, Western Oregon has now won all six GNAC games it has played in this March with neither series being completed due to weather conditions.
The Wolves’ three wins at Concordia over the weekend moved them into the No. 8 slot in this week’s NCBWA West Region rankings, which is the highest ranking of any GNAC team this year.
Northwest Nazarene won three of four games last week against Central Washington despite an offensive explosion from Dylan Freyre, who hit three home runs and two doubles for the Wildcats in the series. The Crusaders are now in second place in the conference standings, but only two games separate second place from fifth place after two weeks of conference play.
Western Oregon will take its winning streak back to Monmouth to host Central Washington, which leads the conference in overall wins. They will play a four-game series with Saturday and Sunday doubleheaders.
Saint Martin’s will travel to Northwest Nazarene for the Crusaders’ second consecutive home series. Including winning the GNAC Championships at home last year, NNU has won 15 of its last 18 home games.
Montana State Billings’ 10-month wait for a home baseball game will come to an end on Saturday as the Yellowjackets finally play their home opener against Concordia at 1 p.m. The Yellowjackets won five of eight games against Concordia last year. Both teams are looking to get back to the .500 mark in GNAC play this year.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Dylan Freyre, Central Washington
IF • 5-10 • Sr. • Saugus, Calif.
Freyre hit .642 (9 for 14) with five runs, two doubles, three home runs and four RBIs to lead the Wildcats in their GNAC road series at Northwest Nazarene. He had went 2 for 4 with a double and a solo home run in Friday’s opener, went 2 for 4 in Friday’s 6-3 win in the nightcap and then went 3 for 4 with a solo homer in Saturday’s opener.
Also Nominated: Michael Gahan (Montana State Billings), Adam Eskil (Saint Martin’s).
Bryon Baker, Montana State Billings
RHP • 6-2 • Sr. • Butte, Mont.
Baker threw a complete-game (seven innings) three-hitter to lead Montana State Billings to a 5-1 over Saint Martin’s in the series finale on Sunday. He allowed one run on three hits, striking out seven and walking two. He faced just three batters more than the minimum to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Also Nominated: Aaron Shoup (Saint Martin’s), Mackenzie Gaul (Central Washington), Tyler Charlton (Concordia).
AROUND THE GNAC
• The Wildcats won one of four games in their series against Northwest Nazarene. The Wildcats still lead the conference in overall wins.
• Dylan Freyre hit three home runs and two doubles in the series to earn GNAC Player of the Week honors. In the Game 2 victory, the third basemen went 2 for 4 with a double and a run.
• Mackenzie Gaul earned the win, which was his third consecutive victory in as many weeks. He threw five innings with seven strikeouts and three runs allowed. Gaul leads the conference in strikeouts with 38, which is 11 more than anyone else. He also ranks third in innings pitched with 30.
• Dylan Freyre leads the conference in batting average with 26 hits in 53 at-bats, which also ranks 14th in Division II. He also ranks 31st in slugging percentage at 0.830.
• Connor Plaisance leads the team in doubles with nine this year. That mark ranks in the top 25 in Division II. He has also hit one triple this year.
• James Smith went 3 for 3 in the Wildcats’ victory, including a home run. It was his fourth home run this year, giving him a team-best 13 RBIs and 12 runs. Smith has also stolen two bases this year.
• This week, Central Washington will play a four-game set at Western Oregon with doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday. The Wildcats lead the conference in overall wins while Western Oregon leads in conference winning percentage.
• Concordia dropped all three completed games of the series against Western Oregon over the weekend. The Cavaliers are now 4-13 this year and 2-5 in conference play.
• Jake Brewer threw a two-run complete game, but took a 2-1 loss in the second game of the series. He struck out eight batters in nine innings and only allowed four hits and three walks.
• The Cavaliers scored just six runs in the three games as the team’s batting average dipped down to .222 for the season.
• Eddie Vasquez didn’t get a hit in the series, but did drive in a run in the series opener with a sacrifice fly to give the Cavaliers a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
• Leadoff hitter Cole Crosby is batting .308 which leads the Cavaliers. He has scored seven runs and has an on-base percentage of .383 with one stolen base.
• James Brooks stepped back into his role as a relief pitcher this week, throwing four innings out of the bullpen with two earned runs allowed on six hits and six walks with five strikeouts. He remains the team-leader in ERA at 3.80 in six appearnaces.
• Adam Taylor has driven in nine runs on 12 hits this year, including a double and a triple. He has only struckout nine times this year, which is the least among regular starters.
• Concordia will be the first team to travel to Montana State Billings this season with a four-game series beginning on Thursday.
MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings picked up three wins at Saint Martin’s over the weekend to move into third place in the GNAC standings.
• Bryon Baker earned the third win with a seven-inning complete game where he faced only 24 batters and allowed just one run. It was his second win this season.
• After 17 games on the road to start the year, the Yellowjackets will bring their 10-month wait to play at home to an end on Saturday. Montana State Billings will hold its home-opener against Concordia on Saturday at 1 p.m.
• Zach Robinson is the only player on the team that has played in all 17 games and 17 different position players have started multiple games this year. Montana State Billings has not used the same starting lineup twice all year without even taking into consideration different batting orders.
• Casey Merritt leads the team in batting average at .327 with 16 singles this year. He has stolen four bases and come around to score seven times.
• Kade Hall leads the team in slugging percentage at .559 with five doubles, a triple and three home runs. Montana State Billings leads the comnferece in home runs with 14.
• Cody Cooper threw 6.1 innings in the opener with five strikeouts to boost his career strikeouts total to 182. He now ranks seventh in GNAC history in strikeouts and is just three away from Mike Eisenhauer from Western Oregon for sixth place.
• Tanner Watson earned the first victory for the Yellowjackets in relief. He has thrown four innings this year in two relief spots and given up just two hits and no walks with three strikeouts without allowing a run in those four innings. He is one of four players on the team that has recorded a win this year, joining Baker, Jared Winslow and Sam Muskat.
• Northwest Nazarene took three of four against Central Washington to move into second place in the GNAC standings with a record of 5-3 in conference play.
• Every game that the Crusaders have played this year has been very competitive. No game has been determined by more than four runs, including four games determined by one run.
• Ross Clevenger threw a two-run complete game in the opener against Central Washington with eight strikeouts and one walk. It was his second win of the season and longest outting of the year.
• Adam Paulson won the third game of the series with just one earned run to bring his team-best ERA down to 2.76. It was his second win of the year in his third start.
• Brett Nielsen has six seven this season, which leads the Crusaders. He also has a team-best slashline of .388/.592/.444 this year. He had a two-RBI single during the Crusaders’ six-run first inning in the series finale.
• Senior Andrew Helmstadter reached base in all three of his plate appearances with a single and two walks. He came around to score each of the first two times he was on base.
• Nick Bland has made six relief appearances this year with seven innings pitched and just seven hits and two earned runs allowed.
• The Crusaders will host a four-game series next week against Saint Martin’s with double headers on Friday and Saturday. Northwest Nazarene won three of four games the last time it hosted a series against Saint Martin’s.
• The Saintswon one of four games against Montana State Billings to avoid the sweep and move into a tie for fourth place in the GNAC standings with a 3-5 record in conference play.
• Due to rain, all four games of the series were played at Bob Williams Field in the Dalles, Ore. The games were originally scheduled to be played in Lacey, Wash.
• Ryan Dorney took the loss against Montana State Billings despite not allowing a single earned run. He is now 0-3 on the season, but ranks second in the GNAC in earned run average at 1.96 in four starts. Of his 18 runs allowed, 14 have been unearned.
• The Saints were tied 2-2 with MSUB in the series opener when a run in the ninth inning secured the victory for the Yellowjackets. Aaron Shoup, Luke Hare and Patrick Hoeper combined for 7.2 innings of two-run baseball.
• Adam Eskil reached base in all four plate appearnaces in the 8-4 victory in the third game of the series. He had a double, two singles and a walk with three runs and three RBIs as the clean-up hitter. He now has a team-best .509 slugging percentage and 11 RBIs.
• Alec Hagerman leads the team in batting average at .333 with 15 hits in 45 at-bats. Of his 15 hits, 12 have been singles and the other three are all doubles. He has reached base 42.3 percent of the time and come around to score eight times.
• The Saints will play at Northwest Nazarene, playing Friday and Saturday doubleheaders against NNU, which has won 15 of its last 18 home games.
• Western Oregon won another three games this weekend, but weather interrupted another weekend for the Wolves, preventing the fourth game from being played.
• Western Oregon is now ranked No. 8 in the NCBWA West Region poll, which is the highest ranking of any GNAC team this year.
• Connor McCord picked up his second win of the year in the series opener, throwing 4.1 innings in relief with no runs and one hit allowed. He struckout six batters and faced only two more than the minimum. Freshman Kade Mechals came in for the final inning to earn his third save of the season in the 6-3 win. Mechals is now tied for 33rd in Division II history in saves.
• Craig Grubbe threw six shutout innings with five strikeouts and two hits to earn his first victory of the season. Cam Walker threw the ninth inning to preserve the 2-1 victory for his second save of the season. Grubbe now has a team-best 4.22 ERA.
• The Wolves’ offense is led by Justin Waken, who is batting .433 with an on-base percentage of .528 this year. He has scored five runs and driven in four.
• Jay Leverett has been the power source in the Wolves’ lineup with four doubles and a home run. He is slugging .615 with six RBIs and five runs scored.
• Nyles Nygaard hit two singles and drove in three runs in the series finale as the Wolves went on to win 9-2 against Concordia. He also reached base on a walk and stole a bag.
• Western Oregon will return to Monmouth this week to play against Central Washington. The Wolves won seven of eight games agaisnt the Wildcats last year, but only edged CWU by one game in the final GNAC standings for a spot in the GNAC Championships.