Historic MSUB Season Comes To Close In Close Defeat
A historic season for Montana State Billings drew to a close in La Jolla on Friday.
A historic season for Montana State Billings drew to a close in La Jolla on Friday.

Friday, May 17, 2019

LA JOLLA, Calif. – One of the best seasons in program history came to an end for Montana State Billings on Friday as the No. 6 seed Yellowjackets were eliminated from the NCAA Division II West Region Baseball Championship at Triton Ballpark. 

The club jumped out to an early 4-0 advantage on host UC San Diego before the Tritons rallied for a 7-5 victory. All of the second-seeded team's runs came in one inning as UCSD exploded for seven runs in the bottom half of the sixth. 

The trip to La Jolla marked the program's first-ever appearance in NCAA Division II regional action.

Leadoff man Wyatt Setian led MSUB offensively by going 2 for 5 with three RBI on Friday. GNAC Player of the Year Daniel Cipriano also impressed, notching two runs and one RBI in a 2 for 4 day at the dish. First baseman Blake Baumgartner and left fielder Alex Athanacio each went 1 for 4 with a pair of RBI to pace UC San Diego.

The Tritons now advance to a best-of-three series with No. 3 seed Point Loma, beginning Friday at 7:15 p.m.

The Yellowjackets drew first blood in the contest's second inning on a two-RBI single to left field off the bat of Setian. That lead was then doubled in the fourth and fifth frames as Setian and senior Matt Dillon tallied another pair of run-scoring singles.

Starter Steen Fredrickson cruised through his first five frames of work in his first NCAA postseason appearance, allowing just three hits while striking out four.

After the region's No. 2 seed hung a crooked number on the board in the sixth, MSUB wasted no time hitting the comeback trail. It was Cipriano who cut the deficit to 7-5, launching a 2-2 pitch deep over the wall in left field.

Ultimately, however, the team was unable to complete its comeback, going down in order in the evening's final two frames to end the year.

Fredrickson took the loss, falling to 7-2 in his senior season in Billings. Right-hander Brandon Weed improved to 10-1 with the win despite allowing five runs on 10 hits in seven innings of work. 

Montana State Billings ended the day with more hits (10-7) than its opponent.

The team finishes its season with a record of 33-20, winning both the GNAC regular-season and Championships title in the process. It entered regional play as one of the hottest teams in the country with a streak of 11 consecutive victories.