Softball: MSUB Opens Home Season Thursday Against CWU
Jill McDaniels tied a CWU school record with seven RBIs Sunday.
Jill McDaniels tied a CWU school record with seven RBIs Sunday.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. - Defending GNAC champion Montana State Billings opens its 2013 home softball schedule this week with doubleheaders against Central Washington Thursday and Northwest Nazarene Saturday.

MSUB was the favorite in the GNAC Coaches pre-season poll, but is off to a 4-12 start and currently ranks sixth in the conference standings with a 3-6 record.

The top four teams will advance to the conference playoffs in May.  MSUB, by virtue of winning the conference title last season, will host the tournament but will need to finish in the top four to qualify.

Central Washington (6-9 overall) is currently tied for fourth in the conference standings with Western Washington with a 4-4 GNAC record.

The Wildcats lead the GNAC in batting with a .327 team average.  CWU center fielder Michaela Hazlett leads the conference with a .419 average.  Second baseman Jill McDaniels is batting .366 and is the conference leader in home runs with six.

McDaniels had eight hits in 12 at bats, including four home runs and 11 RBI in four conference games last week to earn GNAC Red Lion (@redlionhotels) Player of the Week honors.

MSUB’s top hitter is second baseman Aubrey Conceicao who is hitting .310. The ‘Jackets have, however, struggled at the plate batting just .245.

The CWU-MSUB twinbill are the only games on Thursday’s schedule.  The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.

On Saturday in addition to the MSUB/NNU twinbill, first-place Simon Fraser (11-9, 7-0) plays at second-place Western Oregon (15-14, 6-2) and third-place Saint Martin’s (14-8, 5-3) hosts Western Washington (12-10, 4-4).

The weekend schedule concludes on Sunday with Simon Fraser playing at Saint Martin’s and Western Washington visiting Western Oregon.

FROM THE RECORD BOOK: Saint Martin’s Lacey McGladrey is currently on a 14-game hitting streak which equals the 10th longest in GNAC history ... Simon Fraser’s Cara Lukawesky tossed a three-hitter last Sunday defeating Western Washington 7-2.  In the process, she extended her streak of consecutive innings without allowing an earned runs to 31.  That’s among the Top 10 streaks in GNAC history ... McDaniels’ seven RBIs in CWU’s 15-14 win over Western Oregon equaled the school record and was one off the GNAC record.