Your Move, Wolves: NNU Puts Pressure On With Sweep
Alex Salsman had six RBI and at least one in every game during NNU's four game sweep of MSUB that has the Nighthawks in pole position to grab their second consecutive regular season title.
Alex Salsman had six RBI and at least one in every game during NNU's four game sweep of MSUB that has the Nighthawks in pole position to grab their second consecutive regular season title.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Thanks to the GNAC’s five-team scheduling format, one of the two teams competing for the regular season title has a bye in each of the final two weekends. With Western Oregon sitting out after taking three out of four and first place from Northwest Nazarene last week, the Nighthawks did their part by sweeping Montana State Billings.

The sweep gives NNU a final conference record of 21-11. Western Oregon currently sits at 18-10 with a four-game series at Saint Martin’s left on the schedule, meaning the Wolves have to sweep the Saints to win the title outright and three of four to tie Northwest Nazarene.

Northwest Nazarene took two from the Yellowjackets on Friday thanks to a longball explosion from GNAC Player of the Week Parker Price. Price, who joins teammate Grant Kerry as the only position players this year to win multiple weekly awards, hit three home runs over the first two games, including lead-off homers in the bottom of the first inning of both contests.

Blake McFadden won GNAC Pitcher of the Week honors for his shutdown bullpen appearances. McFadden tallied a four-inning save in Friday’s series-opening 9-4 win. He entered with a one-run lead and retired the first nine Nighthawks he faced, allowing a single and a hit batter over four innings of work. In Saturday’s series finale, he threw 1.2 perfect innings to total 5.2 shutout innings for the week.

Alex Salsman had several clutch hits throughout the series, chief among them a go-ahead solo home run in the eighth inning of Saturday’s opener to lift the Nighthawks to a 4-3 victory, rescuing a win after MSUB’s Mitch Winter turned the game on its head with a game-tying three-run blast an inning earlier.

While the race for first is going down to the final weekend, so is the race for the third and final GNAC Championships qualifying spot thanks to the Yellowjackets’ four losses and Saint Martin’s taking three of four from Central Washington.

The Saints won in walk-off fashion not once but twice on Friday by scores of 6-5 and 12-11. The opening game was a see-saw battle that saw SMU take a 4-3 lead on Bryant Nakagawa’s two-run single in the bottom of the eighth, only for Central to take back the lead on an RBI triple from Adam Fahsel and a sacrifice fly from Austin Ohland. In the bottom of the ninth, a single, a walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with one out for shortstop Ryne Oshiro, who stroked a double into the left-center gap to score two runners for the 6-5 win.

The second game was even more dramatic, as Central Washington stormed out to a 10-2 lead after three innings. A six-run fifth, punctuated by a two-run triple from Oshiro, brought the Saints back in the game, but the hosts found themselves down 11-9 in the final frame. Once again, the Saints loaded the bases in an unconventional manner, with a strikeout reaching on a wild pitch before a walk and a hit batter, and Aaron Renaud’s one-out, two-run single tied the ballgame before Austin Schaler won it in extras with a walk-off single to score pinch-runner Alohi Arrechi.

The final two series of the conference season will not happen at the same time. Working around unplayable field conditions in Lacey, the Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon series will be doubleheaders on Wednesday and Saturday, while the MSUB/CWU series will remain at the scheduled Thursday/Friday time.


Parker Price, Northwest Nazarene
SS • 5-10 • Sr. • Boise, Idaho
Price batted .500 as the Nighthawks swept a pivotal series from Montana State Billings, going 7 for 14 with four runs scored, two doubles, three home runs and five RBI. Price went 2 for 4 with a pair of home runs in Friday’s 9-4 opening-game win. He then went 4 for 4 in the nightcap, a 9-4 win, which included his third homer of the day and an RBI single. Price closed his week by going 1 for 4 with a run scored in Saturday’s 4-3 opening game victory.

Also Nominated: Adam Fahsel (Central Washington), Aaron Renaud (Saint Martin’s).

Blake McFadden, Northwest Nazarene
LHP • 6-3 • Sr. • Meridian, Idaho
McFadden allowed just one hit in 5.2 innings of relief for the Nighthawks in the series sweep of Montana State Billings. McFadden entered Friday’s opener in MSUB’s four-run fifth and proceeded to allow just one hit and struck out two over four innings to earn the save in the 9-4 win. McFadden then threw 1.2 innings of relief to set up Max Holtzclaw in Saturday’s 5-2 second-game win, striking out two.

Also Nominated: Nolan Miliman (Central Washington), Cole Hatton (Saint Martin’s).


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• Central Washington lost three of four to Saint Martin’s, dropping the first two games on Friday 6-5 and 12-11 and winning Saturday’s opener 9-1 before losing the finale 9-1.
Adam Fahsel hit .308 with five RBI and seven runs scored. Fahsel had an RBI triple in Friday’s opener, a three-run home run in the nightcap and an RBI double in Saturday’s opener. He currently leads the GNAC in runs (52) and ranks second in batting average (.347).
Austin Ohland led the Wildcats with six runs batted in, including three in the first game on Friday. Ohland had an RBI groundout to open the scoring in the third, an RBI single in the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth. Ohland also hit a solo home run in Friday’s nightcap and added a two-run double in Saturday’s opener. Ohland leads the GNAC in RBI (48), doubles (22) and total bases (100).
Nolan Miliman earned the win for the Wildcats in Saturday’s opener, scattering nine hits over seven innings and giving up just one run with eight strikeouts. Miliman has a 5.77 ERA in 12 appearances and four starts this season. Drew Richardson relieved Miliman with two hitless innings to close out the victory.
• Central Washington leads the GNAC with a .290 batting average and also has a league-high 7.93 team ERA. They lead the conference in hits (431) and doubles (100).
• Central Washington will travel to Montana State Billings for doubleheaders on Thursday and Friday.

• Montana State Billings lost four games to Northwest Nazarene, twice by identical 9-4 scores on Friday and 4-3 and 5-2 on Saturday.
• After a four-homer week last weekend, Mitch Winter picked up where he left off with a pair of blasts against NNU. Winter hit a two-run home run late in Friday’s nightcap before the most consequential play of the week for the Yellowjackets in Saturday’s opener. Trailing 3-0, Winter took Nighthawks starter Spencer Schwehr deep for a three-run blast in the seventh inning that saw MSUB threaten to turn the tide of the series. Winter leads the GNAC with 10 home runs.
Mason Powell swung the bat well, hitting 5 for 12 (.417) with a pair of RBI singles in Friday’s opener. Powell was also on base for both of Winter’s home runs. He is batting .280 in 24 games this season.  
Ty Wilson provided MSUB’s best start, giving up three runs in 4.2 innings with three strikeouts in his first start of the year. Sage Wayment pitched well in relief in Friday’s second game, firing 3.2 shutout innings and scattering four hits.  
• The Yellowjackets are batting .275 and have a 7.33 ERA. They lead the conference in runs scored (305), walks (202) and triples (15). James Anderson leads the conference in walks (33) while Cooper Dulich ranks fifth in batting average (.329).
• Montana State Billings is tied with Saint Martin’s for the third and final qualifying spot for the GNAC Championships. They will play at home against Central Washington in the final series of the regular season on Thursday and Friday.

• Northwest Nazarene achieved a four-game sweep of Montana State Billings to complete its regular season with a 21-11 record and a momentary three-game lead over Western Oregon for first place in the conference standings. The Nighthawks defeated MSUB twice on Friday 9-4, then on Saturday by 4-3 and 5-2 scores.
Parker Price earned GNAC Player of the Week honors after batting .500 (7 for 14) with five RBI, four runs scored and three home runs. All three dingers came Friday. Price homered in the first and sixth innings in the opener and again in the first inning in the nightcap. His second-game homer was the start of a 4 for 4 day in which Price later added an RBI single and a double. Price ranks eighth in the GNAC with a .320 average, third with 14 doubles and second with 41 RBI.
Alex Salsman also hit .500 for the week, with six RBI that nearly always came in extremely clutch spots. Salsman hit an RBI double as part of a four-run first in Friday’s opener before adding a two-run homer in the nightcap. On Saturday, Salsman’s go-ahead home run in the eighth provided the winning 4-3 margin in the opener before his two-run single provided key insurance in a 5-2 finale win.
Blake McFadden took home GNAC Pitcher of the Week honors after throwing 5.2 scoreless innings over two relief appearances, including a four-inning save during the series opener. McFadden sports a 2.09 ERA and leads all conference relievers with 38.2 innings pitched. Spencer Schwehr threw seven strong innings, giving up three runs on five hits with six strikeouts.
• The Nighthawks are seventh in the latest NCBWA West Region poll, where they were last week. The Nighthawks have clinched a berth in the GNAC Championships and will wait for this week’s results to see if they will be the No. 1 or No. 2 seed.

• Saint Martin’s won three of four from Central Washington, winning 6-5 and 12-11 on a pair of walk-off hits on Friday. They lost 9-1 on Saturday before winning the series finale by the same score.
Hunter Kosmider batted .500 for the second consecutive week, collecting five RBI and five runs scored. Four of his RBI came on Saturday, with three in the second game on a pair of singles.
Ryne Oshiro and Austin Schaler each had walk-off hits on Friday. Oshiro doubled home two runs in the series opener, part of a seven-RBI week for the Saints’ shortstop. Oshiro had a two-run single before his walk-off heroics in Friday’s opener and recorded a two-run triple in the nightcap. He added an RBI groundout on Saturday. Oshiro is batting .237 with 19 RBI this season.
Cole Hatton had perhaps his best start of the season, throwing five innings during the series finale and allowing one run on five hits while striking out seven. Colin Driscoll pitched three key innings of relief during the 12-11 slugfest, holding CWU to one hit and allowing Saint Martin’s to come from behind.
• The Saints have a .254 team batting average and a 6.64 team ERA. They lead the conference in double plays turned with 29. Schaler leads the conference with five triples. Ace pitcher Justice Yamashita leads the GNAC with 68 strikeouts and ranks second with a 3.38 ERA.
• Saint Martin’s is tied for third with Montana State Billings and battling the Yellowjackets for the final GNAC Championships qualifying spot. They will host Western Oregon for a modified four-game series played on Wednesday and Saturday due to anticipated inclement weather and field conditions.

• Western Oregon was off last week. When they last played, they took three of four from Northwest Nazarene, completely shutting out NNU on April 22, winning 3-0 and 2-0, and added a 6-3 win on April 23 before losing the finale 3-1.
•  Mike Peterson started the series off on a high note, throwing seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and striking out seven. Seth Kuykendall pitched 6.2 innings, allowing three hits and a walk. The stellar starting pitching continued on Saturday, with Arturo Alvarez throwing six two-run innings.
Matthew Dunaway began the season as a starter, but has been converted into a closer with serious strikeout stuff as Western Oregon has hit their stride. Dunaway collected two saves, allowing one hit with four strikeouts in two innings in relief of Peterson in Friday’s opener and recording a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts in Saturday’s opener. Bryce Bond played a fireman role, relieving Kuykendall to collect the final out in Friday’s nightcap before appearing in both Saturday games. Bond induced a flyout to get WOU out of an eighth-inning jam in the opener and then threw 1.2 hitless innings in the nightcap, allowing one run on three walks.
• Offensively, Jackson Holstad led the charge, batting .333 with four RBI and a pair of doubles. Holstad had two separate RBI hits in the series-opening 3-0 win and hit a two-run double in Friday’s opener.
• Western Oregon also small-balled its way to some runs. They won their 2-0 game by scoring unearned runs on a fielder’s choice and a sacrifice fly, and the 6-3 win was buoyed by a three-run first that included a successful squeeze bunt from Zach Valdez.
• The Wolves remain at fifth in the latest NCBWA West Region Poll. They are batting .250 and lead the GNAC with a 4.09 ERA, .975 fielding percentage and 56 stolen bases.
• Western Oregon will travel to Saint Martin’s and play the Saints twice on Wednesday and twice on Saturday due to anticipated bad weather and field conditions in Lacey. The Wolves must sweep Saint Martin’s in order to be regular season champions.