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Nighthawks, Cavs Highlight Penultimate Week Of Action
Concordia sits in fourth place at 14-17 while Northwest Nazarene is at 12-20. In their previous series, both teams played to a four-game split.
Concordia sits in fourth place at 14-17 while Northwest Nazarene is at 12-20. In their previous series, both teams played to a four-game split.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

CAVALIERS, NIGHTHAWKS ENTER MUST-WIN SERIES: With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, the upcoming weekend will be filled with drama, especially between Concordia and Northwest Nazarene.

With eight games remaining, Concordia holds a 2.5 game lead over the Nighthawks for fourth place. In the teams’ previous meeting in mid-March, the Cavaliers took the openers in both doubleheaders while Northwest Nazarene came away with wins in the nightcaps.

Entering the series, Concordia is hitting .259 while Northwest Nazarene is at a .274 batting average. Northwest Nazarene has been one of the GNAC’s best fielding teams this season as they boast a .958 fielding percentage. Concordia, on the other hand, is third in the league with a 5.62 earned run average.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS EARNS REGIONAL RANKING: For the first time in program history, Montana State Billings has been ranked in the NCAA Division II West Region Rankings. The Yellowjackets enter the weekend ranked No. 6 in the region and are tied for sixth in the NCBWA Division II West Region Poll.

Clinching a berth to the GNAC Championships last weekend, Montana State Billings currently sits in first place at 26-12, 25-7 GNAC and are 5.5 games ahead of second-place Western Oregon.

The NCAA regional rankings will be released for the next three weeks with the final rankings being revealed on May 13. The GNAC Championships is set for May 9-11 and will be hosted by Central Washington in Ellensburg, Wash.

YELLOWJACKETS NAMED RED LION TEAM OF THE WEEK: Playing at home for the first time this year, Montana State Billings baseball continued its dominance with four weekend wins to earn this week’s Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week honor for the second time this season.

Taking on a red-hot Concordia team that won 9 of its last 11 games heading into the series, Montana State Billings exploded for 47 runs and 57 hits to earn its first four-game sweep since 2016. Montana State Billings took the series opener on Friday 17-0 before earning a 7-6 walk-off victory in the nightcap. The Yellowjackets continued to swing a hot bat on Saturday as they captured another blowout win, 16-0, before closing the door on Concordia with a 7-6 win in the series finale.

The Yellowjackets led all GNAC teams with a .385 batting average, compiling 20 doubles and five home runs. Senior Ryan Myers led the team with a .538 batting average, recording seven hits and five RBIs. Junior Jalen Garcia added to his already impressive season with eight hits and nine RBIs, none of which was more important than his game-winning double in MSUB’s walk-off win.

Montana State Billings has been an offensive force as it leads the GNAC in a handful of hitting categories. The Yellowjackets pace the conference in batting average (.317), runs (320), doubles (95), home runs (51), walks (179), slugging percentage (.523) and on-base percentage (.416). Montana State Billings also has four of the GNAC’s top six hitters in terms of batting average in junior Kaleo Johnson (.388), Myers (.386), senior Kade Hall (.369) and Garcia (.365).

Sitting in first place at 26-12, 25-7 GNAC, Montana State Billings returns home next week to host Saint Martin’s for a four-game series and will play its final eight regular-season games at Dehler Park.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Player
Adam Eskil, Saint Martin’s
IF • 6-0 • Sr. • Walla Walla, Wash.

Eskil had an outstanding week for the Saints, going 7 for 12 in their four-game series with three home runs and nine RBIs. He went 2 for 2 in Saturday’s second game, which included a two-run homer in the first and an RBI single in the fifth. Eskil opened Sunday by going 2 for 3 in the opener, which included a two-run homer. Eskil then went 2 for 3 in the nightcap and opened his game with a three-run homer in the first inning.

Also Nominated:
Ty Deckwa (Central Washington), Mitch Bevacqua (Concordia), Griffey Halle (Western Oregon).

Pitcher
Steen Fredrickson, Montana State Billings
P • 6-1 • Jr. • Ashland, Ore.

Fredrickson improved to 6-0 on the season as he earned the victory in the Yellowjackets’ 16-0 rout of Concordia. He allowed one hit in seven innings with six walks and six strikeouts and allowed just one runner past second base.

Also Nominated:
Seth Pedersen (Central Washington), Dylan Diaz (Concordia), Adam Paulson (Northwest Nazarene), Alex Roth (Western Oregon).

CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington earned a series win over Northwest Nazarene last week as it outscored the Nighthawks 33-14. The Wildcats took Friday’s doubleheader 11-7 and 10-2 before winning the series finale 8-2 on Saturday.

• Central Washington found its rhythm on the offensive end as it was one of three GNAC teams last week to record higher than a .320 batting average.

• Senior Dustin Braun paced the CWU offense by batting .588 in the series, which included 10 hits, five RBIs, three runs and two doubles. In the 8-2 win, Braun went 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. He is fifth in the GNAC with a .366 batting average and is second on the team with 31 RBIs.

• Senior Ty Deckwa had himself a solid weekend at the plate as he compiled a .438 batting average to go along with five RBIs and four runs. Deckwa opened the series by going 4 for 5, which was highlighted by a three-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning. Deckwa improves his batting average to .339 and has 17 RBIs on the season.

• Senior Seth Pederson earned his third win of the season in the series finale after he allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits in a complete-game, seven-inning effort. He also struck out five. Senior Mackenzie Gaul surrendered just one run in 6.2 innings pitched in the 3-2 loss on Saturday. Pederson lowers his ERA to 4.78 and is second on the team with 49 strikeouts.

• The Wildcats remain second in the league with a .305 batting average and are second with 83 doubles. Central Washington has also compiled a league-high 417 hits to go along with 20 home runs.

• Central Washington ends the season with eight-straight road games. The Wildcats travel to Western Oregon this week for a four-game series in Monmouth.

CONCORDIA
• Winning 9 of its last 11 games heading into last week, Concordia was stifled by first-place Montana State Billings as it was swept by the Yellowjackets 16-0, 7-6, 16-4 and 7-6. The Cavaliers did, however, pick up a win against Western Oregon last week Monday, 5-4.

• Concordia had a rough weekend on the defensive side of the ball as it conceded nine errors in the series.

• Junior Mitch Bevacqua led the Cavaliers by batting .389 over the five games. The junior recorded at least one hit in the final three games of the series. On Friday, he went 1 for 3 with two RBIs before ending Saturday’s opener with a pair of RBIs. Bevacqua is second on the team with a .296 batting average and has compiled a team-high 25 RBIs.

• Starting in the series opener on Friday, junior Jake Roes allowed eight runs, none of which were earned. He was one of four GNAC pitchers last week to pitch at least five innings and allow no earned runs. He continues to lead Concordia with a 3.75 earned run average, which is good for fifth in the league.

• Concordia is hitting .259 this year and is third in the GNAC with a 5.62 earned run average. They are also fourth in the league with 337 hits.

• The Cavaliers host their last regular-season series of the season when they take on Northwest Nazarene this weekend. Earning a series victory will be critical as just 2.5 games separate the two teams heading into the final two weeks of conference action.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings continues to dominate as it swept Concordia over the weekend. The Yellowjackets blanked CU 16-0 in Friday’s series opener and took the nightcap 7-6 in walk-off fashion. They continued to swing a hot bat with a 17-4 win in Saturday’s opener before taking another 7-6 win in the series finale.

• Montana State Billings was named the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week after exploding for 47 runs and 57 hits to earn its first four-game sweep since 2016. The Yellowjackets led all GNAC teams with a .385 batting average, compiling 20 doubles and five home runs.

• Senior Ryan Myers led the team with a .538 batting average. He recorded seven hits and five RBIs. Myers went 3 for 4 in the series opener with two RBIs and closed the series with a 2 for 3 effort to go along with a pair of RBIs and a run in Saturday’s 7-6 win. He is second in the GNAC with a .386 batting average and 43 runs scored. Myers is also third in Division II with a .545 on-base percentage and leads the GNAC with 11 home runs.

• Junior Jalen Garcia added to his already impressive season with eight hits and nine RBIs, none of which was more important than his game-winning double in MSUB’s walk-off win. Garcia recorded at least two RBIs in each game of the series and compiled three in MSUB’s 17-4 victory. The junior leads the GNAC with 46 runs scored, 39 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.
• Junior Steen Fredrickson was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week for the third time this season after he improved to 6-0, earning the victory in the Yellowjackets’ 16-0 rout. He allowed one hit in seven innings with six walks and six strikeouts and allowed just one runner past second base.

• Montana State Billings has been an offensive force as it leads the GNAC in a handful of hitting categories. The Yellowjackets pace the conference in batting average (.317), runs (320), doubles (95), home runs (51), walks (179), slugging percentage (.523) and on-base percentage (.416). Montana State Billings also has four of the GNAC’s top six hitters in terms of batting average in junior Kaleo Johnson (.388), Myers (.386), senior Kade Hall (.369) and Garcia (.365).

• In the first NCAA Division II West Region Rankings, Montana State Billings is ranked at No. 6.

• The Yellowjackets are back at Dehler Park this weekend to host a four-game series against Saint Martin’s.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene dropped its weekend series to Central Washington and remains in fifth place. The Nighthawks fell in Friday’s opener 11-7 before taking a 10-2 loss in the nightcap. They bounced back in the first game of Saturday’s twinbill with a 3-2 win but fell in the series finale 8-2.

• The Nighthawks had trouble at the plate as they hit .184 to go along with 14 runs and 21 hits.

• Pacing NNU’s offense was senior Coltin Brink, who hit .385 in the four games. Brink went 1 for 3 with an RBI single in Friday’s nightcap before going 3 for 6 on Sunday. Brink improves his batting average to .261 and has five RBIs on the season. He also has a .970 fielding percentage.

• Junior Adam Paulson relinquished just two runs, one earned in the Nighthawks 3-2 win on Saturday. Paulson went a full nine innings, allowing six hits to go along with eight strikeouts. Paulson improves to 3-5 on the year and leads Northwest Nazarene with a 4.25 ERA.

• The Nighthawks are fourth in the GNAC batting .274 and are second in the GNAC with 32 home runs. Northwest Nazarene is also second in the GNAC with a .958 fielding percentage.

• Trailing fourth-place Concordia by 2.5 games, the Nighthawks visit the Cavaliers for an important four-game series this weekend at Porter Park. Expect this series to be a close one as the Nighthawks are 2-2 against Concordia this season.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• Saint Martin’s was swept by Western Oregon last week as it fell 12-4 and 6-5 on Saturday and 22-4 and 8-5 on Sunday.

• As a team, Saint Martin’s hit .262 and managed three home runs and 32 hits. The Saints also managed just one error for a .992 fielding percentage.

• Senior Adam Eskil was named the GNAC Player of the Week after going 7 for 12 with three home runs and nine RBIs. He went 2 for 2 in Saturday’s second game, which included a two-run homer in the first and an RBI single in the fifth. Eskil opened Sunday by going 2 for 3 in the opener, which included a two-run homer. Eskil then went 2 for 3 in the nightcap and opened his game with a three-run homer in the first inning.

• Junior Austin Feist was second on the Saints with a .400 batting average. Feist compiled four of his six hits in Sunday’s doubleheader and recorded two RBIs in Saturday’s nightcap. Feist leads the team with a .325 batting average, five home runs and 24 runs batted in.

• As a team, Saint Martin’s is hitting .246 this season and has drawn the second-most walks with 161.

• Saint Martin’s visits Dehler Park this weekend for a four-game series against Montana State Billings.

WESTERN OREGON
• Western Oregon got back on track last week after it swept Saint Martin’s 12-4, 6-5, 22-4 and 8-5 in Monmouth. The Wolves, however, took an 11-2 loss to Lewis Clark-State in non-conference action on Wednesday.

• The Wolves led all GNAC teams last week with a .405 batting average. They also compiled 70 hits, 15 doubles and 52 runs.

• Freshman Griffin Halle led Western Oregon at the plate by batting .538. He finished the series with seven hits, five RBIs and a pair of doubles. Halle went 3 for 3 in Saturday’s 6-5 win and 3 for 4 with four RBIs on Sunday. Halle improves his batting average to .294 and is tied for third on the team with 23 RBIs.

• Senior Jay Leverett batted .444 over the weekend as he compiled eight hits and two RBIs. He recorded at least two hits in the opening three games against the Saints and scored eight runs. Leverett is seventh in the GNAC with a .364 batting average and is fourth with a .411 on-base percentage.

• Sophomore Alex Roth continues to be a dominant force on the mound. Roth picked up his fourth win of the year in WOU”s 12-4 victory. He provided seven innings of work, allowing just two hits while striking out seven. Roth leads the GNAC and is among Division II leaders with a 1.84 ERA and is tied for fourth in the league with 49 strikeouts.

• The Wolves continue to boast the best pitching staff in the GNAC with a 4.06 earned run average and are 13th in Division II with a .972 fielding percentage.

• Western Oregon hosts third-place Central Washington this weekend in Monmouth. The Wolves are just 1.5 games ahead of the Wildcats in the GNAC standings.

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