Western Oregon Wins Twice for 14th GNAC Title
Western Oregon had eight players record an RBI and three pitchers throw at least seven innings in their four championship games.
Western Oregon had eight players record an RBI and three pitchers throw at least seven innings in their four championship games.

Friday, May 8, 2015

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Western Oregon Wolves are the top team in the GNAC once again after beating Northwest Nazarene twice Friday at the GNAC Baseball Championships at Dehler Park in Billings, Mont.

Western Oregon scored four runs in the last two innings to win the morning championship game 7-2, forcing a decisive game five in the double-elimination tournament.

In that game, the Wolves scored all four runs off of two two-run home runs to narrowly edge the Crusaders 4-3 to win their second GNAC Championship tournament title.

The Wolves starter for game four, Darrien Moran, pitched eight innings allowing only four hits and one run, earning championship MVP honors.

The Wolves won three straight elimination games to claim their 14th GNAC title.

Over the four games the Wolves played in the championships, eight players recorded an RBI while three Wolves starting pitchers threw at least seven innings with four strikeouts.

Game One – Western Oregon 7, Northwest Nazarene 2

The Wolves pitcher Moran dominated the Crusaders hitters in the first game of the day - an elimination-game for the WOU.

Through eight innings, Moran allowed just four hits and one run while striking out six Crusaders. The junior retired the first 12 batters he faced.

With Moran giving the Crusaders fits at the plate, the Wolves took advantage by scoring seven runs.

Austin Hamilton drove in three of those runs while scoring two himself in the game. 

WOU scored in the fourth inning from a sacrifice fly from Brandon Oliver. The Wolves would add two more in the fifth from an RBI-double by Cody Sullivan.

NNU’s Jake Reppert slowed down the Wolves for the most part, throwing seven innings of three-run ball and striking out eight, limiting the damage early.

Up 3-1 in the eighth with a new NNU pitcher on the mound, the Wolves would score four runs in the last two innings.

WOU’s Hamilton rocketed a home run over the left-field fence to start the barrage. Jake Whisler singled in a run in the ninth while Hamilton would add two more with a two-run double, seling the 7-2 vicotry.

Game Two – Western Oregon, Northwest Nazarene

Riding the momentum from a win earlier in the day, the Wolves compiled four runs in the first two innings from the long ball. 

Matt Taylor hit his third home run of the season in the first and Garret Harpole hit his ninth of the year in the second. Both were two-run home runs.

Catcher Andrew Helmstadter would put the Crusaders on the board in the third with a two-run homer to left, making the NNU deficit just two.

That margin would shrink to one in the fifth with a Jesse Hilyard sacrifice fly. That would be all NNU could muster in its last contest as the score would remain 4-3 the remainder of the game. 

The GNAC does not have an automatic berth in the NCAA West Regional, but WOU could be one of the six selected to head to the regional May 14-17. The GNAC champions were not ranked among the eight West Region teams in the latest poll.