Ten-Game Winning Streak Propels Wolves To First Place
Western Oregon pitcher Darrien Moran threw a complete-game shutout against Concordia, earning GNAC and West Region Pitcher of the Week.
Western Oregon pitcher Darrien Moran threw a complete-game shutout against Concordia, earning GNAC and West Region Pitcher of the Week.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

WOLVES SURGE INTO FIRST WITH DOUBLE-DIGIT WIN STREAK: With back-to-back series sweeps over Central Washington and Concordia, Western Oregon has climbed to the top of the GNAC standings, passing Northwest Nazarene by a half game. After starting conference play with a 5-8 record, the Wolves have been scorching hot with a 10-game winning streak, the longest win streak of the season in the GNAC by six games.

The friendly confines of the WOU Baseball Field treated Western Oregon well last week, sweeping four games over Concordia over the weekend and then a makeup doubleheader over Saint Martin’s on Wednesday. The games were the first for the Wolves to be played on their home field after series relocations and weather postponements plagued the first of their season.

STANDINGS REMAIN TIGHT FOR FINAL PLAYOFF SPOT: Western Oregon’s jump from fifth to first place in a matter of two weeks has shown how quickly the standings can shift. With four weeks left of regular season play, a series sweep or a couple series wins can jump any team into a prime playoff position.

Entering the week, Western Oregon and Northwest Nazarene hold down the top two positions, just a half game apart. Central Washington’s series win over Montana State Billings bumped the Wildcats into the third and final playoff spot at 12-10. The Yellowjackets are narrowly behind them with an 11-12 record in GNAC play. Concordia and Saint Martin’s remain within striking distance at 8-12 and 8-16, respectively.

GNAC PLAYERS CLAIMS WEST REGION AWARDS: For the first time this season, the GNAC earned both National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association West Region Player of the Week awards. Central Washington outfielder Darren Honeysett was named the NCBWA West Region Player of the Week after hitting .466 (7 for 15) with three home runs, seven runs batted in and four runs. He hit two home runs in the Wildcats’ 6-5 victory over Montana State Billings in game one, which included the game winning two-run homer in the ninth inning. Honeysett is the first GNAC hitter to receive the award this season.

On the hill, Western Oregon pitcher Darrien Moran was selected the NCBWA West Region Pitcher of the Week after throwing a nine-inning complete game shutout over Concordia on Sunday. Moran led the Wolves to a 10-0 victory, striking out seven on his way to his third victory. He worked himself out of trouble multiple times by inducing three double plays. Moran is the second GNAC pitcher to receive the award and the first since NNU’s Colton Loomis received it on Feb. 23 for his no-hitter. Honeysett and Moran also earned their respective awards from the GNAC.

MOVING UP IN THE RANKINGS: Western Oregon’s back-to-back series sweeps jumped them from No. 10 to No. 8 in the NCBWA West Region Poll. The Wolves received 24 points in the poll and are ranked the highest since being selected No. 7 in the preseason poll. Northwest Nazarene’s split with Saint Martin’s dropped the Crusaders down to No. 10 with 10 points. Central Washington was among those receiving votes with one after taking three out of four games from Montana State Billings.

NEXT UP IN GNAC COUNTRY: Central Washington and Concordia open up the week with a makeup doubleheader on Friday in Portland. The two teams are schedule to play six games over the weekend at Concordia’s Porter Park. Central Washington won the first two games back on Mar. 12.

After making up a doubleheader on Wednesday in Monmouth, Ore., Western Oregon and Saint Martin’s reconvene for a four-game series in Lacey, Wash. The Wolves have taken three of four games from the Saints this season after the doubleheader sweep.

Northwest Nazarene travels north to Montana State Billings for a four-game series. Originally schedule to be played on Friday and Saturday, it has been rescheduled to Saturday and Monday due to weather conditions. The two teams split their series on Mar. 11 and 12 in Nampa, Idaho.

OTHER TOP PERFORMANCES: Western Oregon designated hitter Trevor Podratz finished 8 for 10 against Concordia, with one home run, four doubles, four RBI and two runs… Montana State Billings third baseman Kyle Durbin hit .571 (8 for 14) in four games, scoring two runs with an RBI and a double… Northwest Nazarene second baseman Tyler Davis hit two more home runs, as he leads the GNAC with 10 this season. He drove in seven RBI and was 7 for 17 at the dish… Northwest Nazarene pitcher Ross Clevenger threw eight innings with just one run allowed in the team’s 4-1 victory over Saint Martin’s… Brady Miller struck out six batters in eight innings, allowing one run in Western Oregon’s 11-1 win over Concordia… Saint Martin’s Nick Mailhot earned a victory in relief, pitching four shutout innings against Northwest Nazarene in the Saints’ 3-2 extra-inning win.

Darren Honeysett
(Central Washington, OF, 6-0, 194, Sr., Port Coquitlam, B.C. – Terry Fox): Honeysett led Central Washington to a series win over Montana State Billings by hitting .466 (7 for 15) with three home runs, seven RBI and four runs. He hit two of his home runs in the opener, including a two-run game-winning shot in the ninth, and recorded RBI in three of the Wildcats’ four games. Also Nominated: Tyler Davis (Northwest Nazarene), Jake Huskey (Saint Martin’s), Corey Morris (Montana State Billings), Trevor Podratz (Western Oregon).

Darrien Moran
(Western Oregon, P, 6-0, 195, Sr., Federal Way, Wash. – Pierce CC): Moran threw a complete-game shutout in the Wolves’ 10-0 win over Concordia on Sunday. He allowed nine hits and two walks while striking out a season-high seven batters. He worked out of three potential run-scoring jams by inducing ground-ball double players. Also Nominated: Ross Clevenger (Northwest Nazarene), Mackenzie Gaul (Central Washington), Matt Hape (Montana State Billings), Nick Mailhot (Saint Martin’s).