Top Teams Begin To Pull Away After Series Victories
Central Washington increased their lead for the third and final playoff spot to 2.5 games after winning four of six over Concordia.
Central Washington increased their lead for the third and final playoff spot to 2.5 games after winning four of six over Concordia.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

GAP FOR THIRD OPENS UP AFTER WILDCATS TAKE FOUR: Making up a rained out doubleheader with Concordia, Central Washington faced the Cavaliers for six games in Portland, Ore., last week. After splitting the first four games on Friday and Saturday, the Wildcats won the final two games to take four out of six games over the weekend.

The victories moved Central Washington to 16-12 in GNAC play, 20-17 overall and helped extend their lead for third place. They enter the week 2.5 games ahead of fourth place Montana State Billings and just one game behind second place Northwest Nazarene.

The Wildcats outscored Concordia just 27-20 for the series, but 15-4 in the final two games as the offense exploded in the victories. Designated hitter Jake Levin led the team offensively, hitting 7 for 17 with three runs, three RBI, three doubles and one home run.

Ryan Archibald helped lead the Wildcats to the win in the final game, throwing a seven-inning complete game with just one run allowed. Each of Central Washington’s starting pitchers made it through at least six innings, giving the bullpen extra rest in the extended series.

WOLFPACK ROLLS ON: Western Oregon ran its winning streak to 14 games after sweeping Saint Martin’s over the weekend. The Wolves hosted the Saints for two games on Wednesday, before traveling to Lacey, Wash., for the originally scheduled four-game series. In the six games, Western Oregon outscored the Saints 58-17 and now lead the GNAC in runs scored (224) and runs allowed (113).

Darrien Moran was selected the GNAC and West Region Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week as he threw his second shutout in as many starts. Moran pitched the opening game on Sunday, striking out 10 batters in nine innings in the 8-0 victory. He earned his fourth win of the season and owns a 2.56 earned run average.

The Wolves’ offense continued its second half surge, scoring seven or more runs in five of six games. The team peaked with 20 runs in game one on Saturday. Outfielder Cody Sullivan was selected the GNAC’s Player of the Week after hitting 13 for 26 with six runs, nine RBI, five doubles, two triples and a home run. Brock Pradere finished 11 for 22 with 10 runs, six RBI and seven doubles as the Wolves had five players with 10 or more hits.

Western Oregon also continues to move up in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association West Region Poll, jumping one spot to No. 7 with 39 points. Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington are both among those receiving votes.

RAIN SHORTENED SERIES ENDS IN SPLIT: Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings, two teams battling for a playoff spot, were unable to play a full four-game series as the second two games of the doubleheader were cancelled due to weather conditions. Those games will not be made up.

The Crusaders’ Jaramy Jacobs and the Yellowjackets’ Cody Cooper took part in a pitcher’s duel in the opening game of the series. Jacobs ended up the victor, allowing one run over six innings with seven strikeouts. Cooper arguably had the more exciting performance, pitching eight innings with a GNAC season-high 13 strikeouts in the 2-1 loss. Ryan Nyborg earned his seventh save of the season, recording the final five outs with two strikeouts.

The Yellowjackets answered in game two with an 8-4 victory to stay close in the playoff race. Matt Hape picked up his third win, allowing four runs over five innings with seven strikeouts.

BATTLE FOR FIRST HEADLINES UPCOMING WEEKEND: Western Oregon travels to Nampa, Idaho for a four game series against Northwest Nazarene between the top two teams in the GNAC. The Crusaders trail the Wolves by 2.5 games, but took three out of four games from Western Oregon in March.

Saint Martin’s hosts Central Washington while Montana State Billings travels to Concordia. With three weeks remaining in the regular season, teams will look to make their final pushes towards one of the three playoff spots.

OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES: Northwest Nazarene second baseman Tyler Davis hit his GNAC leading 11th home run against Montana State Billings… Western Oregon’s Trevor Podratz finished 11 for 20 at the plate with six runs and six RBI in six games against Saint Martin’s. He leads the GNAC with a .372 batting average… Brandon Oliver went 10 for 24 for Western Oregon, scoring seven runs with eight RBI… Saint Martin’s Adam Eskil hit 8 for 19 with three RBI… Central Washington pitcher McKenzie Gaul threw 8.1 innings with two runs allowed in the Wildcats’ 3-2 victory on Saturday…Western Oregon pitcher Garrett Alvarez struck out nine batters in eight innings, allowing three runs in the victory.

Cody Sullivan
(Western Oregon, OF, 6-0, 195, Sr., Port Angeles, Wash. – Port Angeles): Sullivan led a solid hitting week for Western Oregon by batting .500 (13 for 26) with five doubles, two triples, a home run and nine RBI. He accounted for 25 total bases, a .962 slugging percentage and a .517 on-base percentage. Sullivan went 4 for 5 in the first of six games against Saint Martin’s on Wednesday with three doubles. Also Nominated: Tyler Davis (Northwest Nazarene), Adam Eskil (Saint Martin’s), Gerhett Moser (Concordia), Cole Sternhagen (Montana State Billings).

Darrien Moran
(Western Oregon, P, 6-0, 195, Sr., Federal Way, Wash. – Pierce CC): For the second straight, Moran threw a complete game shutout, this time to beat Saint Martin’s on the road 8-0. Moran allowed eight hits and just one walk while striking out 10 batters as he improved to 4-3 on the season as the Wolves solidified their hold on first place in the GNAC standings. Also Nominated: Cody Cooper (Montana State Billings), Jaramy Jacobs (Northwest Nazarene), Sean Moran (Concordia), Mickey Walker (Saint Martin’s).

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