Non-Conference Action Winds Down Throughout League
Saint Martin's third baseman Micah McNicoll was named the GNAC Player of the Week after leading his team to a series win at College of Idaho.
Saint Martin's third baseman Micah McNicoll was named the GNAC Player of the Week after leading his team to a series win at College of Idaho.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

WOLVES COME OUT HUNTING: After seeing its first two series of the season canceled due to rain and snow, Western Oregon lifted the lid on its 2019 campaign Monday.

The start couldn’t have gone much better as the Wolves exploded for a 13-1 victory over Central Washington in a non-conference tilt. Senior Thomas Ahlstrom led WOU offensively, tallying four RBIs in the season-opening win.

Western Oregon will be in action once this week, facing Concordia in another non-conference contest on Thursday before GNAC play officially starts next week.

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 got its season underway over the weekend at No. 8 Colorado Mesa. Western Oregon lifted the lid on its 2019 campaign earlier this week in Portland against Central Washington.

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.


Micah McNicoll, Saint Martin's
3B • 5-7 • Jr. • Kaneohe, Hawaii

McNicoll finished the five-game series at the College of Idaho with a .467 batting average, going 7 for 15 with five runs, four RBI, two doubles and a home run. He went 2 for 4 with two doubles and two runs, including the winning run in the ninth inning, in Saturday’s 3-2 victory. McNicoll then closed the series by going 4 for 5 with four RBI and two runs in Sunday’s 11-5 win. He had an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run homer in the second.

Also Nominated: Jon Pinto (Central Washington), Jake Wikel (Concordia), Jalen Garcia (Montana State Billings).

Hunter French, Central Washington
RHP • 6-4 • Jr. • Richland, Wash.

French collected his first win in a Central Washington uniform in the Wildcats’ 6-1 victory over Corban on Sunday. In six scoreless innings, French allowed just three hits and one walk while striking out eight. He allowed just one extra-base hit and allowed only one runner past second base.

Also Nominated: Jeffrey Lusink (Concordia), Jarrod Molnaa (Montana State Billings), Benjamin Wadowski (Saint Martin's).

• Central Washington was in action for six games last week, highlighted by a series win at Corban. The Wildcats did not drop a contest to the Warriors, winning three games and tying one.

• The club was led at the plate by sophomore Mitch Lesmeister, who hit .250 on the week while driving in four runs. His performance in CWU’s series-opening victory at Corban got his club rolling offensively, bringing in the first run of the day en route to a two-RBI showing in an 8-4 win.  

• On the mound, right-hander Hunter French shined for the Wildcats. The junior tallied eight strikeouts in six scoreless innings, collecting the win in his team’s 6-1 road victory on Sunday. French was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week for his performance.

• Central Washington is hitting .243 this season, which ranks third in the conference through three weeks of play. The team’s 65 runs scored is tied for second in the GNAC.

• The Wildcats will be off for the rest of the week in preparation for their GNAC opener. That series will run March 2-3 against Saint Martin’s at CWU Baseball Field in Ellensburg.

• The Cavaliers were in La Jolla, Calif. last week for a challenging series at No. 4 UC San Diego. The team was unable to come away with a victory against the Tritons.

• Concordia was led by outfielder Jake Wikel, who hit .400 with two RBI, one run and three 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 fifth in the GNAC after three weeks of action. The team has 31 RBIs through eight contests, ranking second in the league in that category.

• The Cavaliers will be in action for one counting game and three exhibition contests this week. They will return to the diamond on Thursday afternoon against Western Oregon in Portland before heading north for an exhibition series at British Columbia.

• Montana State Billings was in the Centennial State last week to lift the lid on its 2019 season at No. 8 Colorado Mesa. The club left without a victory but was competitive throughout, dropping the first two games of the series by just one run.

• The team was led offensively by preseason All-American Jalen Garcia, who hit a scorching .450 at the dish while tallying four runs and two RBI.

• On the mound, senior Jarrod Molnaa led the Yellowjackets with nine strikeouts in five innings of work. The right-hander surrendered just one run and left his first start of the year with the game tied in the club’s season opener.

• Montana State Billings finished its first series of the 2019 campaign hitting .245 at the plate. That clip has the team slotted second in the conference.

• No team in the GNAC has hit more home runs than MSUB. The club has already smashed five homers in four games, leading the league by three.

• The Yellowjackets will return to the field this weekend, putting a bow on non-conference play with a four-game series at Dixie State.

• The Nighthawks were off last week after going 1-3 in a pair of two-game sets against Dixie State and Colorado Mesa. Two of the three defeats in the team’s first week of action came by a single run.

• Northwest Nazarene was led by senior Kyle Redford. Redford’s week was topped by a 2 for 3 performance in the 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 fifth 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 are back in action this week, taking to Oakland for a four-game set at Academy of Art.

• Saint Martin’s was in Caldwell, Idaho over the weekend for five games against College of Idaho. The Saints emerged with a series victory, splitting doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday before taking Sunday’s rubber match.

• Third baseman Micah McNicoll led the team offensively. The junior hit .467 against the Yotes with five runs and four RBI to earn him honors as the GNAC Player of the Week.

• As a team, Saint Martin’s is hitting .241 with a league-leading 39 RBIs. The club’s two home runs are tied for second in the conference.

• On the mound, right-hander Tanner Inouye has paced the Saints. The junior leads SMU with a 2.84 ERA in two appearances, posting a 1-1 record to go along with 12 strikeouts.  

• The pitching staff’s 75 strikeouts leads the GNAC through three weeks of play. Opponents are hitting at just a .244 average against Saint Martin’s.

• The Saints will be off this week in preparation for their first GNAC series of the year, coming on March 2-3 at Central Washington. The four-game series will begin on Saturday, March 2 at Noon in Ellensburg.

• Western Oregon took to Portland on Monday for its season opener, a single game against Central Washington that was designated as a non-conference tilt. The year couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Wolves, who exploded for 13 runs in a 13-1 victory.   

• Senior Thomas Ahlstrom led WOU offensively, tallying four RBIs in the season-opening win.

• Right-hander Alex Roth got the opening day start and turned in a fine performance, working five innings and allowing just one run. The junior struck out nine Wildcats while allowing just four hits to earn the victory.  

• Western Oregon hit .385 as a team and left their first contest of the season with a perfect fielding percentage. The game was the program’s first since its GNAC Championships victory over top-seeded Montana State Billings last May.

• The club will return to the field for one more non-conference contest against a GNAC opponent this week. That game is set for Thursday at 2 p.m. against Concordia in Portland.