GNAC Baseball Championships Field Settled After Wild Finale
Northwest Nazarene will host the tournament as the No. 1 seed on Thursday and Friday. They will be joined by Montana State Billings and Western Oregon.
Northwest Nazarene will host the tournament as the No. 1 seed on Thursday and Friday. They will be joined by Montana State Billings and Western Oregon.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore. – It took until the final out of a wild regular season, but the GNAC Baseball Championships field and site are finally set.

Northwest Nazarene, Montana State Billings and Western Oregon will battle it out for the second straight season in a double elimination format, beginning Thurs., May 12 at the Elmore W. Vail Baseball Field on the campus of NNU in Nampa, Idaho. All three teams in the tournament did not have postseason spots clinched until the final weekend, with each team needing at least three wins to earn playoff berths. No. 2 seed Montana State Billings will face No. 3 seed Western Oregon in the opening game at noon MT on Thursday. Western Oregon will then play No. 1 seed Northwest Nazarene at 3:30 p.m. MT, followed by MSUB and NNU at 7 p.m. MT.

If the three teams are 1-1 after Thursday’s round-robin portion of the tournament, NNU will advance to Friday’s championship game at 4:30 p.m. MT by virtue of being the No. 1 seed. MSUB and WOU would play an elimination game Friday at 1 p.m. for the right to advance to the final.

If just two teams remain after the round-robin portion of the tourney, they will play Game 4 Friday at 1 p.m., with Game 5 to follow 30 minutes later if necessary.

By virtue of a Western Oregon loss in the final inning of the regular season, Northwest Nazarene and Montana State Billings shared the GNAC regular season title with matching 23-15 conference records and conference-best .605 winning percentages. The Crusaders earned hosting rights of the GNAC Baseball Championships by tie-breaking procedures. Northwest Nazarene claimed a share of its first GNAC baseball regular season title with a sweep of Concordia in its final series of the season. The Crusaders were picked in the GNAC Preseason Coaches Poll to finish in fourth place.

Last year’s host team, Montana State Billings will take at least a share of the GNAC regular season title for the second straight season. The Yellowjackets needed at least three wins in their final series against Saint Martin’s, instead grabbing four wins in the sweep, outscoring their opponents 48-10. The Yellowjackets enter the tournament as the hottest team, winning their last six games and 11 of their last 12.

Western Oregon clinched its spot in the postseason by winning three out of four games against Central Washington to finish 24-16 in GNAC play. The Wolves had a chance to win the regular season title with a sweep of the Wildcats, but came up short in a 6-5 loss in game four of the series on Saturday. Western Oregon was victorious in the tournament in 2015 as the No. 2 seed, winning the final three games over MSUB and NNU to take the title.

Tickets, priced at $8 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children, will be available for purchase at the ballpark ticket booth one hour prior to the first game each day.