First Month Of Season Rolls On, Rain Or Shine
Northwest Nazarene senior Kyle Redford was named the GNAC Player of the Week after leading his team to a road victory at Dixie State.
Northwest Nazarene senior Kyle Redford was named the GNAC Player of the Week after leading his team to a road victory at Dixie State.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

NIGHTHAWKS HIGHLIGHT LIGHT SLATE: The 2019 season continued last week with a trio of teams in action throughout the states of Utah and California.

Northwest Nazarene was able to emerge with a road victory at Dixie State, taking its second game against the Trailblazers on the heels of a two RBI performance from GNAC Player of the Week Kyle Redford. The senior also scored a run and had a stolen base in Friday’s win.

The Nighthawks will be off this week in preparation for a four-game trip to Oakland to face Academy of Art on Feb. 22-23.

REPRESENTATION IN REGIONAL RANKINGS: In the preseason NCBWA West Region Rankings, Montana State Billings is ranked at No. 7 while Western Oregon comes in at No. 9. The Yellowjackets enter the 2019 campaign as the defending GNAC regular-season champions. Slotted just below them are the Wolves, fresh off a GNAC Championships title last May.

Montana State Billings will get its season underway on Friday at Colorado Mesa. Western Oregon is scheduled to lift the lid on its 2019 campaign on March 2 with a doubleheader against the Yellowjackets.

IT’S AUTOMATIC: For the first time in conference history, the GNAC will receive an automatic bid into the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament in 2019. The winner of the GNAC Championships, held May 8-10 in Portland, will receive that automatic berth. Each of the top four teams in the league standings at the culmination of the regular season will qualify for the GNAC Championships.

The defending GNAC Championships title-holders, Western Oregon, have won the tournament four times in the event’s history. Northwest Nazarene and Central Washington each enter 2019 with one tournament title.


Kyle Redford, Northwest Nazarene
IF • 6-1 • Sr. • Meridian, Idaho

Redford led the Nighthawks offensively in their season-opening series against Dixie State and Colorado Mesa. Redford’s week was topped by a 2 for 3 performance in Friday’s 6-5 win at Dixie State in which he had two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base.

Also Nominated: Trevor Tripoli (Central Washington).

Connor Stevenson, Central Washington
P • 5-11 • Sr. • Camas, Wash.

Stevenson was effective in his start at Academy of Art on Sunday, allowing just six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 5.1 innings of his start. He threw 78 pitches and did not allow a run.

• Central Washington was in action for a trio of games last week, taking to Oakland for a pair of contests at Academy of Art and Turlock for a single game at Stanislaus State. The Wildcats were consistently competitive, dropping the three contests by a combined four runs.

• The club was led by shortstop Trevor Tripoli, who hit .375 while also scoring a run. The games marked the first collegiate action for the freshman out of Miliani, Hawaii.

• On the mound, senior Connor Stevenson shined for the Wildcats. The right-hander tallied two strikeouts while not allowing a run in 5.1 innings of work against the Urban Knights.

• Central Washington is hitting .263 this season, which tops the conference through two weeks of play. The team has 10 RBIs through three games.

• The club was selected in third place with one first-place vote in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll.

• Central Washington will be back in action for three games this weekend, taking to Keizer, Oregon for a series against Corban. A doubleheader is scheduled to start on Saturday at 11 a.m., with the series finale set for Sunday morning.

• Trying to build on some of the momentum gained from a split at NAIA No. 5 Lewis-Clark State, the Cavaliers took to the Golden State over the weekend for four games against tough competition. The team was unable to come away with a victory, falling at San Francisco State before dropping three contests at No. 14 UC San Diego on Monday and Tuesday.

• Concordia was led by outfielder Jake Wikel, who hit .385 with two RBI, one run and two walks. The junior is now hitting at a .333 clip this season to top the club’s offensive attack.

• On the hill, senior southpaw Jeffrey Lusink led his team with eight strikeouts and a 3.60 ERA. The explosive Tritons offense hit just .176 against Lusink in his outing.

• Concordia is hitting .233 this year, which is second in the GNAC after two weeks of action. The team has 31 RBIs through eight contests.

• The Cavaliers will be off this week in preparation for a three-game exhibition trip to Vancouver to face University of British Columbia on Feb. 23-24.

• Montana State Billings was scheduled to lift the lid on its 2019 campaign last week but had its series at Colorado Mines snowed out.

• The Yellowjackets finished 2018 on top of the GNAC standings, giving the program its third regular-season championship in the past four years.

• This year’s team loses five All-GNAC players from that club but does return four position starters and two starting pitchers in addition to bringing in nine transfers. Senior Steen Fredrickson (2018 First Team All-GNAC, 4.67 ERA) will bolster the club’s young pitching staff.

• At the plate, another pair of First Team All-GNAC seniors are back in outfielder Jalen Garcia and infielder Conner Linebarger. Garcia hit at a .351 clip in 2018 with 51 RBI, while Linebarger wasn’t far behind with a .333 average and 44 RBI.

• Head coach Aaron Sutton is now in his third year at the helm in Billings. He has compiled a 56-47 record.

• In the preseason NCAA Division II West Region Rankings, Montana State Billings is ranked at No. 7.

• The Yellowjackets hope to start their 2019 season started this weekend, traveling to Grand Junction, Colorado for four games against Colorado Mines.

• The Nighthawks were in action for four games last week, taking to St. George, Utah for a pair of two-game sets against Dixie State and Colorado Mesa. The team went 1-3, with two of the three defeats coming by a single run.

• Northwest Nazarene was led by senior Kyle Redford. Redford’s week was topped by a 2 for 3 performance in Friday’s 6-5 win against the Trailblazers in which he had two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base. His exploits earned him the GNAC Player of the Week award.

• On the mound, left-hander Blake McFadden led his team with a 1.50 ERA  and five strikeouts in six innings of work. His strong start kept NNU within striking distance for the duration of its 3-2 loss at Dixie State.

• Northwest Nazarene ranks second in the league in ERA at 3.82. McFadden’s 1.50 ERA has him slotted fourth in the GNAC.  

• The trip to St. George also marked the first games of the Joe Schaefer era in Nampa. Schaefer spent the last 10 years as the head coach at Point Loma, compiling a 341-217 record and taking the Sea Lions to the NCAA Division II Tournament in 2016 and 2018.

• The Nighthawks will be off this week in preparation for a four-game trip to Oakland to face Academy of Art on Feb. 22-23.

• Saint Martin’s was off last week after its season-opening trip to San Bernardino, Calif. and St. George, Utah.

• The Saints finished the first week of play with a 1-3 record. They dropped a pair of games in San Bernardino against Dixie State and Cal State San Bernardino before moving to St. George and splitting two more contests with the Trailblazers.

• As a team, Saint Martin’s is hitting .208 with 16 RBIs. The club’s 3.66 ERA leads the GNAC through two weeks.

• Third baseman Micah McNicoll leads the team offensively. The junior is 6 for 15 on the year, which includes a 3 for 5 performance with one RBI in the finale against Dixie State in week one. His .400 batting average tops the Saints.

• Right-hander Tanner Inouye was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week after the first week of action. The junior allowed three runs (all unearned) on five hits and five walks, striking out three in 5.2 innings of work.

• The Saints will be back in action this week in Caldwell, taking on College of Idaho for a four-game set. The series will begin on Thursday at 3 p.m. (MST). 

• Western Oregon was scheduled to open its season last week at Lewis-Clark State but had the series canceled due to inclement weather. Its previously scheduled series at Fresno Pacific on Feb. 14-16 has also been called off due to dangerous travel conditions and forecasted rain.  

• The Wolves’ 2018 campaign ended in what has become a familiar scene for the program - a dogpile at the end of the GNAC Championships. Despite struggling to gain momentum early in the season, the club regained its footing and competed at a high level from the month of March onward.

• A dominant pitching staff carried WOU throughout the year, leading the conference in earned run average (4.64), opponent batting average (.263) and fewest hits allowed (405).

• The staff brings back three key starters in upperclassmen Alex Roth, Jacob Fricke and Gabe Benavides. A First Team All-GNAC selection a year ago, Roth tallied a 5-1 record and a 3.77 ERA. Fricke (3-2, 4.01 ERA) received Second Team All-GNAC honors while Benavides also won three games in his first year after transferring in from Division I Grand Canyon.

• Western Oregon will get its 2019 campaign underway on March 2, hosting Montana State Billings for a four-game series in Monmouth.

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