CWU Takes Key Baseball Series, Named Team of the Week
CWU starter Willie Davies earned the victory in the Wildcats' series-clinching 6-4 win over Western Oregon on Sunday.
CWU starter Willie Davies earned the victory in the Wildcats' series-clinching 6-4 win over Western Oregon on Sunday.

Monday, April 7, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. – Winning its first Great Northwest Athletic Conference baseball game of the season, Central Washington fought for a hard-earned 7-6 victory over rival Western Oregon on February 28 in Monmouth.

The victory gave the Wildcats a confident start to their 2014 conference campaign, but the Wolves responded to take the next three games and the first conference series of the season 3-1.

“It’s always a grind when you play those guys, and it is never over until the last out,” CWU head coach Desi Storey commented on facing the 12-time defending GNAC baseball champions.

While the first series didn’t go according to plan for the Wildcats, CWU got redemption last weekend, turning the tables with a 3-1 series victory over WOU in Ellensburg. The Wildcats earned GNAC Team of the Week honors, and tightened up the race in the conference baseball standings with the victories.

“We have been hitting the ball better in general, and we got some great pitching performances,” Storey said of his team’s recent success. “You just have to keep grinding, because (Western Oregon) keeps coming back at you. Our guys fought hard, we got a couple of breaks, and it was nice to get three wins.”

Overall, the Wildcats have won six of their last seven games and eight of their last 10. Leading the way for CWU on the mound has been Brandon Williams, a junior transfer from Mount Hood Community College.

“Brandon has been pitching great for us,” Storey said of the right-hander. “His complete game against them was really big for us, and it put more pressure on them heading into Sunday.”

Williams took the mound in Game 2 of the series for CWU, and struck out eight Wolves while allowing one run and walking just one in a 7-inning complete game. The narrow 2-1 victory helped the Wildcats take the first two games of the series, and was crucial in boosting CWU’s confidence heading into the second day of the series.

“On the offensive side, Kasey Bielec has been swinging it great all season, and Scott Stone has had some key hits in crucial situations for us,” Storey commented on his lineup’s production.

Bielec, primarily a third baseman for the Wildcats, is batting .398 this season and leads the GNAC with 28 RBI. His 39 hits and five home runs are tied for second-most in the conference, and he has struck out just seven times in 124 plate appearances.

Stone, a senior utility infielder, came up big for the Wildcats in a pinch hitting role on Saturday, launching a two-run home run in the seventh inning to break an 8-8 tie. The Wildcats went on to win Game 1 11-9, and Stone also had an RBI double in the Wildcats’ 6-4 victory in the series finale on Sunday.

From the mound it was Willie Davies who was a difference maker in Game 4, as he threw five solid innings to propel CWU to victory. “Willie really stepped up for us and gave us five strong innings,” Storey said of the series-clinching performance.

The final win for CWU came after a tough 12-7 loss in Game 3, during which the Wildcats allowed a 5-run ninth inning for WOU.

“They got some timely clutch hitting and we had a few late mistakes that helped them pull away,” Storey commented on WOU’s lone victory of the series. “The guys weren’t happy that we lost that game but we were able to come out and stay positive for Game 4.”

With 12 games left on the conference slate, CWU currently sits in strong position to capture one of the three GNAC Championship berths as the Wildcats are in third place at 11-9 in GNAC play.

Standing a half game ahead of CWU in the standings is Northwest Nazarene, and the two teams will square off this weekend in a four-game conference set in Nampa. 

“We are going to have to play well against NNU, they came to our place and got a split earlier this season,” Storey said of his team’s upcoming matchup against the Crusaders. “Rocke (Musgraves) is doing a good job down there, and they are really competitive. It’s going to be a dog fight in the second half of the season, but our stand point is just to take care of business on our end and keep moving forward.”

Copyright ©2024 Great Northwest Athletic Conference. All Rights Reserved.