Baseball: MSUB Earns GNAC Team of Week Award
Colby Robison (9) leads the GNAC in RBI with 50.
Colby Robison (9) leads the GNAC in RBI with 50.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BILLINGS, Mont. - Montana State University Billings needed just one victory last weekend to wrap up a berth in the inaugural Great Northwest Athletic Conference baseball tournament.

Instead the Yellowjackets got three an accomplishment worthy of being selected as GNAC Team of the Week.

“Our guys put together a good weekend against a tough Central Washington team,” MSUB third-year baseball coach Rob Bishop said.  

After losing the opener of the series 17-7 to the Wildcats, MSUB bounced back to win the next three games, 20-8, 15-4 and 8-7 rallying from a 6-0 deficit to win the final contest.

“I am proud of how we responded to a poor first game on our part and glad we could send our seniors off with a successful series on our home field,”  Bishop said.

MSUB shortstop Colby Robison led the way in the series hitting four home runs and driving in 16 runs.  He also played solid defense, handling 21 chances (5 putouts, 16 assists) without being charged with an error.  That performance earned him NCBWA West Region Player of the Week honors.

“Colby was terrific all weekend at the plate and in the field,” Bishop said.  “Our lineup did a great job of putting him at the plate with guys on base and Colby definitely took advantage of those opportunities. 

“He is a great kid and it was fun to watch him play well in his final home series as a Yellowjacket.”

Robison had five hits, including two home runs and tied a GNAC single-game record with nine RBI in Friday’s 20-8 win. 

He followed that up with two more home runs and seven RBI  Saturday’s 15-4 victory. 

He finished the series with nine hits in 16 at bats, scoring seven runs.  On the season, Robison leads the GNAC with 50 RBI and has eight home runs. 

Robison wasn’t the only Yellowjacket to have an outstanding series.  Austin Rue had eight hits in 14 at bats extending his hitting streak to 27.  That’s the second longest in GNAC history.

The longest one-season streak  is 30 by Grant Glover by Western Oregon in the 2010 season.  Glover extended his streak to 32 games by hitting in his first two games in 2011.

MSUB’s Bryce Todd had eight hits in 14 at bats and is on a 14-game streak matching the second longest streak this spring in the conference.  Drew Fosnes had seven hits in 16 at bats and takes a 10-game streak into next weekend’s conference playoffs.

MSUB, which will be the No. 3 seed in three-team double-elimination conference tournament, is idle this weekend before heading to either Ellensburg or Monmouth next week.

The tournament begins Thursday and will be hosted by the regular-season champion.  Western Oregon, which has won 11 consecutive GNAC baseball titles, has a three-game lead over CWU, but travels to Ellensburg for a four-game series this Friday and Saturday with the Wildcats.

One win by WOU would earn it the host role.  Meanwhile, CWU needs a four-game sweep to bring the tournament to Ellensburg.

GNAC CHAMPIONSHIPS (May 9-10 at Monmouth or Ellensburg):  Thursday - #3 MSU Billings vs. #1 seed, 10 a.m.; #3 MSU Billings vs. #2 seed, 1 p.m.; #2 seed vs. #1 seed, 4 p.m.  Friday – Game 4 at noon; Game 5 at 3 p.m. (If all three teams finish round-robin play with 1-1 record, #1 seed receives bye into Game 5).

CWU's Kyle Sani Leads Nation In Home Runs

Central Washington catcher Kyle Sani is the NCAA Division II national leader in home runs with 17.

Sani hit five home runs last weekend in CWU's four-game series at MSU Billings to tie the GNAC single-season record for home runs of 17.  He had a total of eight hits in 15 at bats, scored seven runs and drove in 11. 

Three of his home runs came in Friday’s 17-7 victory.  That matched the GNAC single-game record for a conference game.  Shane Schoenberg of Saint Martin’s also hit three in a conference contest against CWU on Mar. 1, 2008.  

Sani's per game average (0.38) is also the best among NCAA Division II players.  He also ranks sixth in total bases (122) and seventh in slugging (.735).

Western Oregon closer Kody Stone ranks third nationally with 12 saves.  He had one last weekend in WOU's series with Saint Martin's to tie the GNAC single-season record of 12 set by Kaleb Wilson of Saint Martin's in 2011.

NATIONAL STATISTICS (Through Apr. 28): Team (Top 30):   Batting – 27. Central Washington .326.  Hits – 21. Central Washington 499. Triples  - 11. MSU Billings 18; 28. Western Oregon 15. Triples Per Game – 18. Montana State Billings 0.38. Home Runs Per Game – 25. MSU Billings 0.72. Home Runs – 24. MSU Billings 34.  Sacrifice Bunts – 7. Central Washington 62.  Sacrifice Flies – 30. Northwest Nazarene and MSU Billings 25. Hit By Pitch – 28. MSU Billings 66.  Strikeouts Per 9 Innings – 21. Western Oregon 8.0.  Double Plays Per Game – 13. Central Washington 0.93.  Double Plays – 13. Central Washington 43.    Individuals (Top 30):  Triples Per Game – 13. Drew Fosnes, MSUB, 0.14.  Triples – 8. Drew Fosnes, MSUB, 6.  Home Runs Per Game – 1. Kyle Sani, CWU, 0.38; 9. Chandler Tracy, SMU, 0.27.  Home Runs – 1. Kyle Sani, CWU, 17; 8. Chandler Tracy, SMU, 12.  RBI – 28. Colby Robison, MSUB, 50.  Slugging – 7. Kyle Sani, CWU, .735; 30. Drew Fosnes, MSUB, .645.   Total Bases – 6. Kyle Sani, CWU, 122.  Hit By Pitch – 21. Charlie Gorzo, NNU, 16.0.  Sacrifice Bunts – 27. Marc Garza, 11.  Sacrifice Flies – 17. Charlie Gorzo, NNU, and Blake Miller, WOU, 6.  Saves – 3. Kody Stone, WOU, 12.