Nighthawk Bats and Wolves Arms Lead GNAC Openers
Western Oregon starting pitcher Arturo Alvarez has a league-leading 2.25 ERA and scooped his first GNAC Pitcher of the Week award after shutting down MSUB this week.
Western Oregon starting pitcher Arturo Alvarez has a league-leading 2.25 ERA and scooped his first GNAC Pitcher of the Week award after shutting down MSUB this week.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Northwest Nazarene and Western Oregon are both 3-1 after the opening weekend of conference games, but the two schools utilized different paths to get there.

The Nighthawks bludgeoned past Central Washington, averaging 9.75 runs per game and hitting .356 with eight doubles and six home runs over the course of the series. Meanwhile, Western Oregon held Montana State Billings to just five runs scored in the first 31 innings of their series before the Yellowjackets scored six in the final inning of the fourth game to avoid a sweep.

Arturo Alvarez won GNAC Pitcher of the Week honors after he kickstarted the Wolves’ dominant pitching series. Alvarez threw 6.2 innings of two-run, four-hit ball in the series’ opening game, dropping his ERA to a league-leading 2.25. With starts from Alvarez, Bryce Bond and Mike Peterson, three of the four games featured deep shutdown performances from WOU starting pitching, with Bond striking out eight in 4.2 innings and Peterson giving up one run in six innings, both in seven-inning games.

Central Washington couldn’t stop Northwest Nazarene offensively all weekend, but the Wildcats’ bats kept CWU competitive. Austin Ohland took home Player of the Week honors by continuing to be an extra-base-hit machine. Ohland had three doubles and three home runs for 10 RBI and four runs scored. Ohland is Division II’s leader in doubles with 14 and a heavy contributor to Central’s team mark of 44 doubles, which leads the GNAC and ranks fourth in Division II.

In non-conference action, Saint Martin’s endured a tough four-game series against Oregon Tech in which the Hustlin’ Owls scored over 10 runs in every game. Western Oregon added to their league-best 10-7 record with an 8-5 win over a tough George Fox team, with John Stark and Derek Maiben driving in two runs apiece.

Up ahead, Montana State Billings will host the University of Mary for a doubleheader on Sunday while Northwest Nazarene will host Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon will host Central Washington, with each GNAC series consisting of two games on Friday and two on Saturday.


Austin Ohland, Central Washington
C • 6-1 • So. • Maple Valley, Wash.
Ohland batted .400 in the Wildcats’ slugfest weekend with Northwest Nazarene, going 6 for 15 with four runs scored, 10 RBI, three doubles, three home runs and four walks. Ohland went 2 for 5 in Friday’s opener, which included a pair of two-run homers. He then went 2 for 4 in the nightcap with a double and a three-run homer. Ohland went 2 for 2 in Saturday’s opener with both hits being RBI doubles.

Also Nominated:
Dominick Buso (Montana State Billings), Kyle Payne (Northwest Nazarene), Aaron Renaud (Saint Martin’s), Spencer Weston (Western Oregon).

Arturo Alvarez, Western Oregon
RHP • 6-4 • Jr. • Inglewood, Calif.
Alvarez started the Wolves’ series with Montana State Billings strong, allowing two runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work to lead Western Oregon to the 10-2 win in Friday’s opening game. Alvarez improved to 2-0 on the season.

Also Nominated: Nolan Miliman (Central Washington), Connor Redmond (Montana State Billings), Brock Moffitt (Northwest Nazarene).


• Central Washington had four high-scoring battles with Northwest Nazarene, winning Friday’s opening game 14-9 before losing 6-5 on Friday and 13-10 and 11-4 on Saturday.
Austin Ohland earned the GNAC Player of the Week award thanks to a 6 for 15 performance at the dish that included three doubles, three home runs, 10 RBI and four runs scored. Ohland hit all three of his home runs over the course of Friday’s doubleheader, including two in Central’s only win of the four-game series. Ohland leads Division II in doubles (14) and leads the GNAC in RBI (25) and total bases (51).
Adam Fahsel had an excellent week, hitting .500 (7 for 14) with seven RBI, six runs scored, two doubles, a home run and four walks. Fahsel currently leads the GNAC in hits (31), batting average (.392), on-base percentage (.467) and runs scored (22) while ranking second in RBI (20) and total bases (49).
Brayde Hirai earned a three-inning save in the opening game of the series, giving up no runs on two hits with three strikeouts. Nolan Milliman pitched 3.1 hitless innings of relief in the second game Friday, giving up only one walk with four strikeouts.
• Central Washington leads the conference with a .290 batting average and has a 7.37 team ERA. They rank 15th in Division II with 44 doubles.
• Central Washington will play a four-game set at Western Oregon, with two games on Friday and two on Saturday.

• Montana State Billings dropped three of four to Western Oregon in the GNAC opening series for both schools. The Yellowjackets lost 10-2 and 8-1 on Friday and 2-1 on Saturday before avoiding a sweep with a 7-2 win in Sunday’s nightcap.
• The Yellowjackets got big-time outings from their starting rotation, even if it didn’t always translate to wins. In Friday’s second game, Matthew Houlihan allowed five runs, but all were unearned, and the sophomore righty struck out seven in four innings. On Saturday, Jackson Betancourt pitched 6.1 strong innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out five but getting a hard-luck loss against Western Oregon.
• The win for the weekend came with Connor Redmond on the bump. The senior right-hander threw seven innings of two-run ball while striking out eight and walking none. Redmond ranks third in the GNAC this season with 28 strikeouts and has 20 in his past two starts.
Hayden Foltz was MSUB’s top hitter of the week, going 4 for 14 with three RBI. Foltz had RBI singles in Friday’s second game and Saturday’s first game which accounted for MSUB’s only run in both contests.
• After scoring four runs in the series’ first three games, MSUB came alive late to win game four. Dominick Buso hit his first home run in the sixth to tie the game at 1-1 before the Yellowjackets scored six runs in the seventh inning, featuring RBI singles from Bodee Wright and Carson Green.
• The Yellowjackets are batting .254 and have a 7.15 ERA, ranking third in the GNAC in both categories. They rank 13th in Division II with nine triples and 20th with 94 walks.
• Montana State Billings will host Mary for a non-conference doubleheader on Saturday, with first pitch at noon.

• Northwest Nazarene dropped the first game of a four-game series with Central Washington, 14-9, but roared back behind the strength of their bats to win 6-5 on Friday and 13-10 and 11-4 on Saturday.
Grant Kerry went 8 for 17 with a pair of home runs to pace NNU’s attack. Kerry homered in the opening game of each day, hitting a two-run shot on Friday and a solo bomb Saturday. Kerry leads the GNAC with five home runs this season.
Kyle Payne swung a hot bat this week, going 7 for 14 with five RBI and a home run. Payne recorded two RBI in the second game of each day and hit a solo home run in Saturday’s first game.
Max Holtzclaw recorded a save on both Friday and Saturday to give him five for the season, which ranks third in Division II. Blake McFadden set up Holtzclaw on both occasions, finishing the week with a 1.80 ERA and seven strikeouts in five innings pitched.
Parker Price hit 6 for 16 this week with a pair of doubles and three RBI. Price ranks second in the GNAC in third in Division II with 10 doubles and ranks third in the GNAC in both RBI (20) and total bases (43).
• The Nighthawks are tied for fifth in the latest NCBWA West Region poll with GNAC foe Western Oregon.
• Northwest Nazarene will host Saint Martin’s for four games this weekend, with two on Friday and two on Saturday.

• Saint Martin’s endured a four-game sweep at the hands of Oregon Tech. The Saints lost 13-0 and 10-5 on Friday and 10-8 and 10-6 on Saturday.
Aaron Renaud was the most fearsome force in the line-up for the Saints, hitting 5 for 13 with a double and a pair of solo home runs. Renaud is tied for second in the GNAC with four home runs this season and is SMU’s leader with a .308 batting average.
Cody Chavis went 3-for-10 with a double and an RBI. Both of those came in the 10-8 loss, with the RBI coming in the form of a sacrifice fly to score Mark Steward.
•  Ryan Driscoll gave up one run in 2.2 innings scattered over two relief appearances on the mound. It was the first run of the season given up by Driscoll, who has a 0.71 ERA in seven appearances totaling 12.2 innings.
• The Saints have a .246 team batting average and a 7.69 team ERA. They lead Division II with 42 hit batters and rank 10th with 37 hit by pitches. The Saints also lead the GNAC in double plays turned with 15.
• Saint Martin’s travels to Nampa to play four games against Northwest Nazarene, with two coming on Friday and two on Saturday.

• Western Oregon defeated MSUB three out of four times, taking 10-2 and 8-1 wins on Friday and a 2-1 win Saturday before losing the final game of the series 7-2.
Jacob Maiben hit .385 (5-13) with three RBI, including a pair of RBI singles in Friday’s first game. Jackson Holstad totaled three RBI with a pair of singles in the 10-2 win, in which the Wolves roughed up three-time GNAC Pitcher of the Week Dylan Barkley from MSUB. The Wolves won 8-1 despite scoring only one earned run to sweep Friday’s doubleheader.
Derek Maiben hit a go-ahead single in the third inning to lift WOU to a 2-1 win in Saturday’s first game. Holstad was in the middle of that game, too, drawing a pickoff attempt to first that was thrown away which allowed Spencer Weston to score with the game’s first run in the first inning. Weston was WOU’s top hitter of the week, going 6 for 15 with 2 RBI and four runs scored.
• Arturo Alvarez won the GNAC Pitcher of the Week award for a strong start of two runs on four hits in 6.2 innings. Alvarez leads all eligibile pitchers with a 2.25 ERA this season in 20 innings pitched.
• The rest of the rotation was no slouch for the Wolves this week. Bryce Bond struck out eight in just 4.2 innings of work to get the win in Friday’s seven-inning second game. Reigning GNAC Pitcher of the Year Mike Peterson made his first start of the season after two relief outings and shoved, pitching six innings of two-hit, one-run ball while striking out four. In the one game that WOU’s starter didn’t go deep, Parker Johnson finished by throwing 4.1 shutout innings of relief to earn his third win of the season.
• Western Oregon is last in the GNAC with a .231 team batting average but leads with a 3.95 team ERA and a .970 fielding percentage. The Wolves offense leads the league in stolen bases (24-28) and fewest strikeouts (129) while the WOU pitching staff has given up the fewest hits (122) and walks (55) in the conference.
• Western Oregon is tied for fifth in the latest NCBWA West Region rankings with GNAC rival Northwest Nazarene.
• Western Oregon will travel to George Fox for a Tuesday afternoon game before hosting Central Washington for a four-game series with two on Friday and two on Saturday.