League Play Begins As Weather And Competition Warm Up
Northwest Nazarene senior Cooper Webster was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week after helping lead his team to a series win at Academy of Art.
Northwest Nazarene senior Cooper Webster was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week after helping lead his team to a series win at Academy of Art.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A LONE WOLF: Western Oregon remains the GNAC’s lone undefeated team, posting a 2-0 record in its first week of competition.

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 on Monday. Senior Thomas Ahlstrom led WOU offensively, tallying four RBIs in the season-opening win. The club then returned to the diamond on Thursday to face Concordia, earning a tight 3-2 victory to cap its perfect week.

Western Oregon will be in action once this week, lifting the lid on GNAC play against Montana State Billings. The four-game series will begin on Saturday at 12 p.m. in Monmouth.  

REPRESENTATION IN REGIONAL RANKINGS: In the second NCBWA West Region Rankings of the season, Western Oregon is ranked at No. 8 while Northwest Nazarene was among teams receiving votes. The Wolves are off to a 2-0 start in 2019, while the Nighthawks are fresh off a series win at 8-3 Academy of Art.

Western Oregon will be back in action this week against Montana State Billings, with NNU opening conference play at Concordia.

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.


Kyle Redford, Northwest Nazarene
IF • 6-1 • Sr. • Meridian, Idaho

Redford led the Nighthawks offensively with a .615 batting average, going 8 for 13 with five runs, two RBI, three doubles, five walks and four stolen bases as NNU took three of four games at Academy of Art. Redford opened the road trip by going 3 for 4 with three doubles and two runs in Friday’s opener. He went 2 for 4 with an RBI single and a run in the nightcap and closed the series by going 2 for 2 with a run and two stolen bases in Saturday’s nightcap.

Also Nominated: Wyatt Setian (Montana State Billings), Jared McDonald (Western Oregon).

Cooper Webster, Northwest Nazarene
RHP • 5-10 • Sr. • Portland, Ore.

Webster pitched seven effective innings to earn his first win of the season in Saturday’s 6-5 victory at Academy of Art on Saturday. In seven scoreless innings, Webster allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out five. He threw 84 pitches, 55 for strikes, and faced just two batters over the minimum.

Also Nominated: Sam Muskat (Montana State Billings), Jacob Fricke (Western Oregon).

• Central Washington was in action for just one game last week, dropping a non-league contest to undefeated Western Oregon. The game marked the club’s final non-conference tilt of the season.

• The club was led at the plate by outfielder Justin Hampson, who went 2 for 4 on the afternoon against the Wolves. Sophomore Colton Bunt came up clutch in the fifth inning, eschewing the opportunity to bunt in favor of an RBI triple to the gap in left-center field.  

• Hampson’s .286 batting average ranks second for the Wildcats as conference play approaches. Leadoff man Cameron McGrath currently tops the team at a clip of .382.

• As a team, CWU is hitting .243 this season, which ranks third in the conference through four weeks of play. The team’s ability to pick up big hits in the clutch has shown early, slotting it second in the GNAC in batting average with an RBI opportunity (.289).

• The Wildcats will return to the field this weekend to lift the lid on GNAC action. It will host Saint Martin’s in a four-game series in Woodinville, Wash., with game one scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. on Saturday.

• The Cavaliers were in action for just one counting game last week, facing Western Oregon in a non-conference affair in Portland. The team held a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning against the undefeated Wolves but were unable to come away with the victory.

• Concordia was led by catcher Dominic Enbody, who went 1 for 3 with an RBI and a run. The sophomore has started eight of his team’s nine contests and now has five RBIs on the young season.

• The club rounded out its week with a three-game exhibition series at British Columbia. Outfielder Isaiah Hatch had a hot weekend at the plate, producing three RBIs while battling temperatures that were in the 30s north of the border.

• Concordia is hitting .223 on the year. The team is making a living through its extra-base hits, leading the conference in both doubles (16) and triples (three).

• The Cavaliers will be in action for four contests this weekend. They will return to the diamond on Friday afternoon in Portland, opening up a four-game set with visiting Northwest Nazarene.

• Montana State Billings was in the Beehive State last week for its second series in as many weeks against a nationally-ranked opponent. The club left without a victory but was competitive throughout, dropping the final three games of the set by a combined five runs at No. 14 Dixie State.

• The team was led offensively by sophomore shortstop Wyatt Setian, who hit at a .400 clip at the dish while tallying four RBIs over the series.

• On the mound, freshman Dylan Barkley shined in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat. The southpaw tallied three strikeouts while allowing two runs in 4.2 innings of work for the Yellowjackets.

• Montana State Billings is hitting .244 on the 2019 campaign. 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 smashed five homers as it enters the start of conference play.  

• The Yellowjackets will return to the field this weekend, traveling to Monmouth to face undefeated Western Oregon on Saturday and Sunday afternoon.

• The Nighthawks were back in action last week, impressing in a four-game series at Academy of Art. The club won three of the four contests, outscoring the Urban Knights 27-16 on the weekend.

• Northwest Nazarene was led by senior Kyle Redford. Redford’s week was topped by a 3 for 4 performance in the 12-4 win against AAU in which he had three doubles and two runs. His exploits earned him the GNAC Player of the Week award, his second such honor in as many weeks of play.

• On the mound, right-hander Cooper Webster led his team with five strikeouts in seven scoreless innings of work. His dominant start led his club to a 6-5 victory on Saturday and earned him the Nighthawks first GNAC Pitcher of the Week award this season.

• Northwest Nazarene ranks second in the league in ERA at 3.63. Webster’s 2.45 ERA has him slotted sixth in the GNAC. 

• The Nighthawks are back in action this week, taking to Portland for a four-game series at Concordia. The games will mark the conference openers for both clubs.  

• Saint Martin’s was off last week after a busy five-game series at College of Idaho the week prior. The Saints emerged from Caldwell with a series victory, splitting doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday before taking Sunday’s rubber match.

• Third baseman Micah McNicoll led the team offensively against the Yotes. The junior hit .467 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 42 runs scored also tops the GNAC.

• 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 lead the GNAC through four weeks of play. Opponents are hitting at just a .244 average against Saint Martin’s.

• The Saints will return to action this week against Central Washington for their first series of league play. The four-game set will begin on Saturday, March 2 at 3 p.m. in Woodinville, Wash.

• Western Oregon took to Portland for a pair of non-conference tilts to lift the lid on its 2019 campaign last week. The year couldn’t have gotten off to a better start for the Wolves, who exploded for 13 runs in a 13-1 victory over Central Washington before scrapping hard for a 3-2 win against Concordia.   

• Catcher Jared McDonald led WOU offensively, tallying three RBIs while hitting at a .500 clip. Senior Justin Wakem also impressed, going 2 for 4 in the two games with three RBIs.

• Senior Jacob Fricke shined on the bump, striking out five in four scoreless and hitless frames of work. The left-hander issued just one walk before being pulled in Thursday’s one-run win.  

• Western Oregon hit .306 as a team, a mark that currently leads the conference. The games were 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 its league opener on Saturday against Montana State Billings in Monmouth. That four-game series will be held on Saturday and Sunday, with each doubleheader beginning at 12 p.m.