MSUB celebrates title.
MSUB celebrates title.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

With the GNAC's automatic berth to the NCAA playoffs safely tucked away, Montana State Billings defeated Simon Fraser 8-3 in the second game of their doubleheader to claim the GNAC title as well Saturday at Cenex Stadium in Billings.
The Clan (32-13, 24-12) had beaten the Yellowjackets 19-11 earlier in the day to deadlock the conference race, but Northwest Nazarene (8-37, 7-29) gave MSUB (32-16, 25-11) an assist by splitting a doubleheader with Saint Martin's (33-18, 23-13) securing the automatic berth for the 'Jackets before they took the field for their decisive contest with the Clan.

The Saints won their opener at Nampa 8-5, but the Crusaders then bounced SMU possibly out of playoff contention 10-2. Saint Martin's still has a slim chance to earn an at-large berth in the eight-team regional field.

They were ranked 10th last week and will need to move up two slots. The playoff pairings will be announced Monday morning at 7 a.m. Pacific time.

Elsewhere Saturday, Western Oregon (23-26, 19-17) swept Western Washington, 11-9 and 4-2 as the conference regular-season schedule, except for a non-conference twinbill Sunday between Simon Fraser and Great Falls, came to a close.

Kasie Conder (7-3) pitched a five-hitter in MSUB's win. She didn't walk a batter and fanned five and allowed just one run and three hits after SFU scored twice in the first on a home run by Leah Riske.

MSUB tied the game in their half of the opening inning on a run-scoring triple by Rose Harrington and a RBI single by Meg Harasymczuk and then went ahead for good in the third inning on a three-run home run by Emily Osborn in snapping a six-game losing streak.

Harrington led MSUB's 11-hit attack with three safeties, while Bobbie Lee, Harasymczuk and Jenna VanEykeren had two each. Carly Lepoutre had two of SFU's five hits.

In the first game, Simon Fraser outslugged MSUB 19-11, taking advantage of eight walks and a GNAC single-game record six hit batsmen by 'Jacket reliever Amanda Todd.

Todd, however, wasn't the loser as SFU opened up a 7-1 lead off starter Jessyka McDonald and trailed 13-3 after three innings.
Riske, Megan Durrant and Lauren Mew homered to lead the Clan. Riske drove in six runs, including four with a second-inning grand slam home run.

Lee and catcher Brittney Sanders paced MSUB offensively. Lee homered twice and drove in four runs, while Sanders had three hits off of SFU starter Cara Lukawesky, who recorded her 20th win against six losses.
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