Wildcats 'Walk' Off Wolves In Doubleheader Sweep
GNAC Player of the Week Parker Price hit .467 with five doubles, helping NNU to a four-game split with No. 6/2 Colorado Mesa.
GNAC Player of the Week Parker Price hit .467 with five doubles, helping NNU to a four-game split with No. 6/2 Colorado Mesa.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two GNAC teams took to the diamond against one another for the first time this past week. And even though it won’t count in the conference standings, Central Washington still made a statement.

The Wildcats took both games of a Saturday doubleheader, 7-6 and 9-2, against a Western Oregon team that entered the week receiving votes in the NCBWA national poll, picking apart the Wolves with clutch hitting and lockdown pitching.

In the first game, WOU stormed out to a 6-0 lead on a parade of hits. The Wolves scored three in the first inning and three in the third, punctuated by a two-run single by third baseman Justyn Herzog. But once Central Washington went to the bullpen, the tide turned. Relievers Nolan Murphy (two IP) and Ryan Arredondo (four) combined for six perfect innings of relief, striking out six and not allowing a baserunner.

Meanwhile, the CWU offense rallied against reigning GNAC Pitcher of the Year Mike Peterson, who gave up four runs, three earned, on six hits in two innings of relief work. Charlie Larson doubled to score Michael Copeland to put the Wildcats on the board in the fifth before Trevor Tripoli doubled to score Larson with two outs in the inning. Wildcats center fielder Adam Fahsel hit a solo home run in the sixth before CWU tacked on an unearned run later in the frame and another run in the seventh.

Down 6-5, Central Washington completed the comeback without needing to swing the bat in the bottom of the ninth. After two walks and a hit batter to lead off the inning, a wild pitch advanced all three runners with Tyler McClain scoring to tie the game. Fahsel then took ball four before second baseman Michael Peter worked the fourth walk of the inning to force in the winning run.

The nightcap had less suspense. The Wildcats scored two in the first on RBI doubles from Fahsel and Austin Ohland before blowing it open with four in the sixth, which included a two-run double from Larson and a two-run single from Peter. On the mound, Josh Touhey continued his strong start to the season for CWU, throwing five two-hit, shutout innings before handing it to the bullpen, which completed the victory in seven innings.

Peter went 3 for 5 with two walks, five RBI and a run scored to lead Central offensively over the course of the week while Larson went 3 for 7 with three RBI.

The other two GNAC teams in action had positive weeks as well. Northwest Nazarene continued its challenging start to the season by facing No. 6/2 Colorado Mesa for a four-game series. The first two games couldn’t have much better for the Nighthawks, who swept the opening double-header on Saturday, 9-8 and 4-0, before the Mavericks rallied for a split with 5-2 and 8-0 wins on Sunday.

Parker Price won GNAC Player of the Week honors after batting .467 (7 for 15) with five doubles, two RBI and two runs scored. Price was at his best in the Saturday wins. In game one, Price went 4 for 5 with three doubles. He came through in the second game with a big two-run double in the seventh inning that provided insurance runs for what had been a one-run NNU lead.

Center fielder Grant Kerry lifted the Nighthawks in game one. The game was a back-and-forth affair all the way through, with Colorado Mesa jumping out to a 5-2 lead before NNU took the advantage with a five-run sixth that Kerry kick-started with a solo home run. Haden Keller added a three-run homer later in the inning. After CMU tied the game with runs in the bottom of the sixth and eighth, Kerry hit his second home run of the game, a two-run blast, in the top of the ninth to give NNU the lead for good.

After his offensive fireworks in game one, Keller further certified his two-way player credentials with a quality start in Saturday’s nightcap. Keller started and pitched 4.2 innings with four hits, four walks and four strikeouts for the win. He then gave way to Blake McFadden, who pitched the final 2.1 innings and recorded five of his seven outs via the strikeout. McFadden gave up just one hit and didn’t walk a batter.

Montana State Billings took one out of four games from the same Colorado Mesa team last week, and the Yellowjackets had a more successful week heading back to the Rocky Mountains. MSUB took three of four from Colorado Christian, winning 6-0 and 14-7 on Saturday and earning a 13-7 victory in game one Sunday before they were denied the sweep with an 11-5 loss later that day.

Yellowjackets ace Dylan Barkley won his third GNAC Pitcher of the Week award this season with a performance that trumped his previous outings. Barkley pitched eight shutout innings and didn’t give up a hit until he allowed a solitary single to center field with one out in the eighth. Along the way, Barkley struck out eight, including two apiece in the sixth and seventh innings, and walked just two. Diego Hernandez finished up the shutout, pitching around a one-out single in the ninth.

The second game was an offensive explosion, with designated hitter Mitch Winter hitting two home runs and James Anderson and AJ Wagenmann also leaving the yard. Right fielder Hayden Foltz had a game-high four RBI on an RBI ground-rule double in the first and a three-run double in the third. Starting pitcher Matthew Houlihan allowed four runs in the first inning, but rebounded to hold CCU scoreless for four innings after that to earn the win.

Connor Raymond had an electrifying start in MSUB’s only loss of the week. Raymond struck out nine in the game’s first four innings, striking out the side in the first and fourth. With a runner on second and nobody out in the fifth, Raymond got a strikeout, but the ball got away from the catcher and the baserunner reached. Raymond got two more strikeouts in the inning to give him 12 for the day, but he couldn’t get out of the inning as Colorado Christian tagged him for five runs. Mike Ouwehand entered for the Yellowjackets and punched out the next batter to complete a four-strikeout inning for MSUB, but Colorado Christian’s bats poured it on over the rest of the game.

While Western Oregon and Central Washington have already faced each other in non-conference action to get more in-region games, this week will see teams meet for conference match-ups for the first time. Northwest Nazarene will travel to Ellensburg for four games against Central Washington while Montana State Billings will face Western Oregon in Monmouth. Both series will play two games on Friday and two games on Saturday.

After being idle last week, Saint Martin’s will stay busy this week despite not having a GNAC match-up. The Saints will head to Klamath Falls to take on Cascade Conference member Oregon Tech. Those teams will play twice on Saturday and twice on Sunday.


Parker Price, Northwest Nazarene
IF • 5-10 • Sr. • Boise, Idaho
Price batted .467 to help the Nighthawks split against No. 2 ranked Colorado Mesa, going 7 for 15 with two runs, five doubles and two RBI. Price went 4 for 5 with three doubles and scored the winning run in a 9-8 victory in Friday’s opener. He went 1 for 2 with two walks and a two-RBI double in a 4-0 victory in the nightcap. He had a hit in each of Saturday’s games, which included a double in the opener. Also Nominated: Charlie Larson (Central Washington), Mitch Winter (Montana State Billings), John Stark (Western Oregon).

Dylan Barkley, Montana State Billings
LHP • 5-11 • Jr. • Missoula, Mont.
Barkley limited Colorado Christian to one hit over eight innings in a 6-0 win in Friday’s opener. He carried a no-hitter into the eighth, allowing two walks and striking out eight. He retired the first 13 batters he faced and has not allowed a run in three of his four starts this season. Also Nominated: Ryan Arredondo (Central Washington), Haden Keller (Northwest Nazarene), Bryce Bond (Western Oregon).