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Offense Prevails: Wolves Outlast Yellowjackets In Slugfest
Western Oregon compiled 19 hits and saw five players record three or more hits on afternoon. Photo by Bryan Clark.
Western Oregon compiled 19 hits and saw five players record three or more hits on afternoon. Photo by Bryan Clark.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

ELLENSBURG, Wash.  – Offense continues to be the theme of the tournament as Western Oregon and Montana State Billings combined for seven home runs in the fourth game of the 2018 GNAC Baseball Championships.

With the wind howling in Ellensburg, Western Oregon (26-20) found its offensive rhythm to earn a 14-8 win over the Yellowjackets to advance to tomorrow’s championship contest. Montana State Billings, on the other hand, will take on Central Washington in an elimination game during the nightcap. The winner of that contest will take on Western Oregon in the championship game tomorrow at noon.

Western Oregon’s Connor McCord led all players with four hits, three runs and a game-high five RBIs. Designated hitter Justin Wakem went 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs while Cody Dykstra drove in two runs on one hit. The Wolves combined for 19 hits.

Despite the loss, Montana State Billings (31-17) continued to swing a hot bat as it combined for 10 hits, five of which were home runs. Kaleo Johnson paced the MSUB offense with a pair of hits, both of which were of the home run variety. Designated hitter Hayden Humphrey went 2 for 4 to go along with a team-high three RBIs. The five home runs broke the MSUB record for most home runs in a single game.

Despite the early deficit, Montana State Billings pulled back two runs in the second inning. Johnson smashed his league-leading 14th home run over the left-field fence to bring MSUB back within 2-1.

Heading into the fourth inning, both teams saw four runs cross the plate. Jalen Garcia led off the third frame with a solo shot over the right-field fence to give MSUB a 3-2 lead. Connor Linebarger picked up his second hit of the day later that inning after knocking in an RBI-single to right center.

The Wolves, however, responded in the next half inning with a pair of runs. McCord drove in his first run of the game while Jared McDonald notched an RBI single later in the inning.

Western Oregon took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Cody Dykstra lined a single to right center. The Wolves continued to pour on the pressure as McCord drilled a three-run homer to right field to extend WOU’s advantage 8-4.

Johnson picked up his second home run of the day in the fifth inning to bring the Yellowjackets within. The home run was Johnson’s 15th of the season, which is the most in MSUB single-season history.

The Western Oregon bullpen combined to allow just one run and a hit in three innings. Nick Parr and Koty Fallon each had a strikeout in relief.

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