Billings Bashes Way To Spot In Championships Title Game
The Yellowjackets cruised to a 10-0 win on Thursday behind a lot of offense and stellar pitching. Photo by Ellie Parker.
The Yellowjackets cruised to a 10-0 win on Thursday behind a lot of offense and stellar pitching. Photo by Ellie Parker.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Big bats and lights out pitching are typically a formula for success and the Yellowjackets rode those two things to a 10-0 victory over Western Oregon at the 2019 GNAC Baseball Championships on Thursday.  

It was certainly the best of both worlds for Montana State Billings, taking a page out of the Hannah Montana playbook as it scored in double digits for the 14th time this season while also notching its fourth shutout of the year.

Designated hitter Chris Arpan, second baseman Conner Linebarger and left fielder Tyler Detloff all had monster days at the plate as the trio tallied three RBI apiece. It was senior Steen Fredrickson who shined on the mound, striking out nine while allowing just one hit in seven scoreless innings.

Fredrickson earned the victory, improving his record to 7-1 on the season. 

"It felt amazing," said Fredrickson after the victory. "It was really the culmination of our entire season. I was able to fill up the strike zone for my offense and we got the job done."

Thursday's winner's bracket game began as a pitchers' duel as each starter had only allowed one hit through three innings. It was MSUB who drew first blood, however, using a four-run fourth inning that was highlighted by a three-RBI triple for Detloff. 

Triples were the theme of the afternoon at Porter Park as Linebarger brought in two more of his own with a three-bagger in the bottom half of the fifth frame.

That made the score 6-0, and the conference's regular-season champion broke the game open shortly thereafter with three runs in the sixth and one more in the seventh.

Fredrickson continued to deal on the mound, eventually turning the ball over to his bullpen for the final two innings of the day. Relievers Sam Muskat and Brandon Maassen were able to finish what he started, sealing the deal on the shutout victory with a pair of quick frames. 

While the WOU bats were quieted for the majority of the afternoon, outfielders Griffey Halle and Jacob Maiben did continue their strong start to the postseason with a pair of hits on the day.

With the win, Montana State Billings now advances to Friday's title game. It will face either Western Oregon or Saint Martin's, with the Wolves and Saints meeting on Thursday night to determine the last spot in the GNAC Championships final.