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Yellowjackets, Clan Anticipate First Home Games Of Season
Heather Tracy and Montana State Billings will play four at home against Western Oregon after playing its first 25 games of the season on the road.
Heather Tracy and Montana State Billings will play four at home against Western Oregon after playing its first 25 games of the season on the road.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

BUZZING DOWN THE ROAD: It happens just about every year, but the road trip Montana State Billings recently completed is among the most epic you will find in Division II softball. The Yellowjackets played 12 GNAC contests (six doubleheaders) in the span of nine days, beginning on Mar. 4 in Bellingham, Wash., and ending on Mar. 12 in Lacey, Wash., with a trip to Portland in between.

The roadie was partly necessitated by weather thanks to the snow and cold in Billings in February and early march. After playing its first 25 games of the season on the road, including five games at the season-opening Desert Stinger in Las Vegas, which is hosted by MSUB, the Yellowjackets will play its first home games on Saturday and Sunday against Western Oregon.

HOME SWEET HOME?: Montana State Billings is one of three GNAC teams that have yet to play home games this season. Simon Fraser saw a pair of doubleheaders on Mar. 3 and 4 against Northwest Nazarene in Burnaby, B.C., snowed out. The Clan will be at home this weekend, which will be a 10-game home stand. Western Oregon saw its potential home openers rained out last weekend. One of those twinbills, against Simon Fraser, was rescheduled for Apr. 17 while the second, against Western Washington, will be played in Bellingham on Apr. 21. The Wolves are not scheduled again for their home field until a four-game series against Northwest Nazarene on Apr. 7 and 8.

HEAVY HITTERS: With six weeks gone in the softball season, five GNAC players rank among the top-50 in Division II in batting. Saint Martin’s Lauren Diuco leads the way, ranking seventh with a .622 batting average. She went .750 in four games last weekend against Montana State Billings to be named GNAC Softball Player of the Week. Central Washington’s Kailyn Campbell ranks 27th with a .509 average while Western Washington’s Emily Benson and Simon Fraser’s Taylor Lundrigan are tied for 30th with .500 averages. Saint Martin’s Lindsey Miller enters the week in 49th with a .484 average.

THIS WEEK'S GNAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
PLAYER
Lauren Diuco, Saint Martin’s
OF • 5-5 •  Sophomore • Mission Viejo, Calif.

Diuco led Saint Martin’s at the plate in a four-game sweep of Montana State Billings, hitting .750 by going 12 for 16 with five runs and five RBIs. She went 3 for 4 with a pair of two-out RBIs in Friday’s opener, a 7-1 victory, and then went 4 for 4 in an 8-6 win in the nightcap. Diuco finished off the series by going 4 for 4 with two runs and three RBIs in Sunday’s finale, a 13-0, five-inning win.

Also Nominated: Heather Tracy (Montana State Billings), McKenzie Smith (Concordia), Taylor Ferleman (Central Washington), Shelbie Martinez (Northwest Nazarene).

PITCHER
Kim Nelson, Saint Martin’s
IF/P • 5-10•  Junior • Fremont, Calif.

Nelson finished with a 0.46 earned run average and had two wins and a save in four appearances in the Saints’ sweep of Montana State Billings. She allowed one run on eight hits with a walk and five strikeouts in 15.1 innings. She allowed one run on three hits to win Friday’s opener and then earned the save in the nightcap. Nelson then threw a complete-game five-hit shutout in Sunday’s 7-0 victory in the opener.

Also Nominated: Brooke Bonsen (Northwest Nazarene), Anna Kasner (Western Washington), McKenzie Smith (Concordia), Maddy Lincoln (Montana State Billings).

AROUND THE GNAC
CENTRAL WASHINGTON
• Central Washington went 3-1 over Northwest Nazarene in the Wildcats’ opening GNAC weekend. After dropping Friday’s opener 7-6, Central Washington won the nightcap 10-5 and then took both games on Saturday, 19-11 and 4-2. The games were played at Carlin Park in Selah, Wash., due to unplayable field conditions in Ellensburg.

• Senior Kailyn Campbell went 9 for 15 with three runs, two doubles, a home run and six RBIs in the four games to lead the Wildcats. She went 3 for 4 with a two-run homer in Friday’s nightcap and went 3 for 5 with two runs and three RBIs in Saturday’s opener. Campbell is second in the GNAC and 27th in Division II with a .509 batting average and is fourth in the GNAC with 28 hits.

• Senior Taylor Ferleman hit .500 in the series, going 7 for 14 with four doubles, six runs and two RBIs. She went 2 for 4 with two runs in Friday’s opener and wne 3 for 4 with two runs in Saturday’s opening win over NNU. With seven doubles, Ferleman is 21st in Division II with 0.50 doubles per game.

• Senior Kiana Wood threw 15 innings for the Wildcats in the series, going 2-1 as she allowed nine runs, four earned, on 15 hits with seven strikeouts. She earned the win in relief in Saturday’s 19-11 win as she allowed two hits in the final inning. She was the winner in the nightcap as well, allowing two runs on five hits and striking out three. Wood enters the week with a 4-1 record and a 2.69 earned run average.

• Central Washington leads the GNAC and is 10th in Division II with a .362 batting average. The Wildcats is 10th in Division II in scoring (7.80 per game), 13th in double plays per game (0.60) and 22nd in doubles per game (1.87) and home runs per game (1.00).

• The Wildcats will play a doubleheader at Simon Fraser on Sunday and at Western Washington on Monday.

CONCORDIA
• Concordia went 3-5 in a series of eight games last week, all at home at Porter Park. The Cavs went 1-3 against Montana State Billings on Tuesday and Wednesday, winning the finale 12-4 in five innings. Concordia then split with Western Washington on Saturday and Simon Fraser on Sunday.

• A scheduled Mon., Mar. 13 non-conference doubleheader against Simpson (Calif.) was cancelled due to rain.

• Sophomore first baseman McKenzie Smith led the Cavaliers offensively with a .500 average in the eight games, going 13 for 26 with five doubles, six walks, seven runs and nine RBIs. She went 3 for 5 in Tuesday’s opener with MSUB and 2 for 4 in Wednesday’s finale. She also went 3 for 4 in Saturday’s opener against WWU. Smith enters the week with a .406 batting average.

• Sophomore infielder Sam Rice batted .450 (9 for 20) in the eight games, including 2 for 3 in Wednesday’s finale with MSUB and Saturday’s finale with WWU. Senior outfielder Meghan Luebbert finished batting .409 in the eight games, going 9 for 22 with 11 RBIs, seven runs and three doubles. Luebbert enters the week seventh in the GNAC with a .456 average and is second with 31 hits.

• The Cavaliers enter the week with a .303 team batting average and a 5.24 earned run average. Concordia leads the league with 25 stolen bases with 35 attempts and is second with 177 hits.

• After not having played a road game since Feb. 10, Concordia will play at Northwest Nazarene for a four-game GNAC series on Friday and Saturday.

MONTANA STATE BILLINGS
• Montana State Billings went 3-5 in eight games last week to conclude a 12-game road trip to Washington and Oregon. The Yellowjackets took three of four games from Concordia, winning both of Tuesday’s game, 14-12 and 7-5, and Wednesday’s opener 15-3. They ended the road trip on a five-game skid, which included four losses to Saint Martin’s.

• Junior outfielder Heather Tracy put together the Yellowjackets’ top week offensively with a .370 batting average, going 10 for 27 with one double, three home runs, five runs and 12 RBIs. She went 3 for 4 with five RBIs and a home run in Wendesday’s opener against Concordia. Tracy enters the week sixth in the GNAC with a .473 batting average and is fourth in Division II with 43 hits.

• Junior first baseman Cameron Cassinelli batted .346 in the eight games, going 9 for 26 with three doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs. All three homers came in the Concordia series, including a three-run shot in Wednesday’s opener. Cassinelli leads the GNAC and is 24th in Division II with 27 RBIs. She is also tied for 20th in Division II with seven home runs.

• Freshman pitcher Maddy Lincoln went 2-2 and compiled a 5.96 earned run average in five appearances. Both wins were complete-game efforts against Concordia.

• Montana State Billings enters the week with a .288 team batting average and a 6.68 earned run average. The Yellowjackets are 16th in Division II with 1.08 home runs per game and 47th in scoring with 6.04 runs per game.

• Montana State Billings will host Western Oregon on Saturday and Sunday for its first home games of the season.

NORTHWEST NAZARENE
• Northwest Nazarene opened its GNAC schedule in Selah, Wash., dropping three of four games to Central Washington. The win came in the opener with the Crusaders scoring five runs in the seventh inning for the 7-6 victory.

• Freshmen infielder Brittany Genuardi led the Crusaders offensively with a .545 average in the four games, going 6 for 11 with five runs. She went 3 for 3 in Friday’s victory and had a solo home run in Saturday’s finale, a 4-2 loss. Genuardi enters the week leading NNU with a .408 average and is fifth in the GNAC with 22 hits.

• Sophomore second baseman Shelbie Martinez batted .429 in the four games, going 6 for 14 with three homers and 11 RBIs. She hit a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning’s 7-6 win and had a pair of two-run homers in Saturday’s 19-11 loss.

• Senior pitcher Brooke Bonsen picked up the lone pitching win of the week in Friday’s opener, allowing 6 runs on 12 hits and three strikeouts in the complete-game effort. Sophomore Rylee Thomas leads the NNU pitching staff with a 4.92 earned run average while Thomas has five of the Crusaders’ eight wins.

• As a team, Northwest Nazarene owns a .289 team batting average with 166 hits. The pitching staff has a 5.78 earned run average.

• Northwest Nazarene returns home this weekend to host Concordia for four games on Friday and Saturday.

SAINT MARTIN’S
• The Saints opened GNAC play with a 4-0 record, scoring a sweep of Montana State Billings in Lacey. Saint Martin’s won Friday’s games 7-1 and 8-6 and took the Sunday games 7-0 and 13-3.

• Sophomore outfielder Lauren Diuco was named GNAC Softball Player of the Week after she hit .750 (12 for 16) with five runs and five RBIs in the four games. She has three hits in Friday’s opener and then had four hits in the Friday nightcap and in Sunday’s finale. Diuco leads the GNAC and is seventh in Division II with a .622 batting average and is 12th in Division II with a .641 on base percentage.

• Junior pitcher/infielder Kim Nelson was named the GNAC Pitcher of the Week after she had two wins and a save and finished with a 0.46 earned run average in four appearances. She recorded the win in Friday’s opener, allowing one run on three hits, and picked up the save in the night. She then threw a five-hit complete game shutout in Sunday’s 7-0 victory. Nelson leads the GNAC with a 1.52 earned run average and is 15th in Division II with 0.42 walks allowed per seven innings (2 total).

• Junior pitcher/outfielder Lindsay Miller batted .538 in the four games, which included a 3 for 4 performance in Sunday’s opener. She is fifth in the GNAC with a .484 batting average.

• Senior outfielder Mary Dettling leads Division II with an average of 2.00 RBIs per game and is 16th in Division II with a .939 slugging percentage. She has 20 RBIs in 10 games this season along with seven doubles and three home runs.

• Saint Martin’s is second in the GNAC and 12th in Division II with a .355 batting average and is third in the GNAC with a 3.02 earned run average. The Saints rank third in Division II in doubles per game (2.20), ninth in fielding percentage (.976) and scoring (7.90 per game), 14th in slugging percentage (.537) and 18th in on base percentage (.421).

• The Saints are north for four games this weekend, playing at Simon Fraser on Saturday and at Western Washington on Sunday.

SIMON FRASER
• Simon Fraser split its only two games of the weekend, beating Concordia 13-12 on Sunday before losing 8-0 in the nightcap. A scheduled Saturday doubleheader at Western Oregon was rained out and will be played on Apr. 17.

• Junior catcher Katherine Murnaghan led the Clan offensively as she went 4 for 6 in the twinbill. All four hits came in the opener as she went 4 for 4 with a walk and a RBI. Sophomore Hailey Gearey went 4 for 7 in the two games, including 4 for 5 with four RBIs in the victory.

• Junior infielder Taylor Lundrigan leads Simon Fraser offensively. She is ranked fourth in the GNAC with a .473 batting average and is tied for 21st in Division II with 0.50 doubles per game.

• Senior Tori Belton leads the SFU pitching staff with a 3.76 earned run average, having allowed 37 runs, 19 earned, in 35.1 innings. Belton is tied for the GNAC lead and 19th in Division II with two saves and earned a three-inning save in Sunday’s opener. Alia Stachoski is 3-1 on the year and earned the win on Sunday.

• As a team, Simon Fraser enters the week with a .296 batting average, 53 runs and 101 hits, while the pitching staff owns a 4.32 earned run average. The Clan is 15th in Division II with 1.92 doubles per game.

• Simon Fraser is home for its next 10 games, beginning with a doubleheader against Simon Fraser on Saturday and a twinbill with Central Washington on Sunday.

WESTERN OREGON
• Rain and unplayable field conditions kept Western Oregon from beginning its GNAC schedule last weekend. The Wolves will be in Montana for a four-game set with Montana State Billings this weekend.

• Western Oregon finished off February by beating College of Idaho in a four-game series at College of Idaho on Feb. 25 & 26. The Wolves took both games of Saturday’s doubleheader, 5-4 and 9-0, lost the Sunday opener 5-4 before closing with a 12-1, five-inning victory.

• Senior infielder Ashlee Lynch hit .583 in the College of Idaho series as she went 7 for 12 with three runs, six RBIs, two doubles and a grand slam. She went 3 for 5 in the series finale, which included two runs, five RBIs and the grand slam. Lynch is hitting .412 in 12 games for the Wolves.

• Senior pitcher Sammi Cadwallader picked up her fourth win of the season in Saturday’s 9-0, five-inning victory at College of Idaho. She allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out one. Cadwallader is now 4-0 on the season and is second in the GNAC with a 1.75 earned run average. She is ranked 14th in Division II in hits allowed per seven innings at 4.26.

• Among others in the NCAA Division II stats, infielder Kelsie Gardner is ranks 35th with 1.18 runs per game. Senior utility player Emma Alfonso is tied for 50th in Division II with 0.30 home runs per game.

• The Wolves are third in the GNAC in hitting with a .324 batting average with 139 hits over their 12 games. Western Oregon leads the league in pitching with a 2.68 earned run average. In the NCAA Division II stats, the Wolves are 15th in home runs per game (1.09) and 37th with a .490 slugging percentage.

WESTERN WASHINGTON
• Western Washington was limited by rain to one doubleheader last weekend, a split at Concordia on Saturday. The Vikings won the opener 4-3 and fell 6-3 in the nightcap.

• Freshman pitcher Anna Kasner put together another solid pitching performance in the second game to improve to 5-2 on the season, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out 11 in the 6-3 win. Kasner leads the GNAC and is 26th in Division II with 73 strikeouts and ranks fifth in Division II with 11.8 strikeouts per seven innings. Kasner is also 30th in Division II with 4.68 hits allowed per seven innings.

• Freshman outfielder Mackenzie Palmer and junior pitcher/infielder Makinlee Sellevold each went 3 for 8 to lead Western Washington offensively. Palmer went 3 for 4 in the second game while Sellevold went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.

• Junior first baseman Emily Benson leads Western Washington offensively with a .500 batting average, which is third in the GNAC and 30th in Division II. She also ranks 45th in Division II with 0.31 home runs per game.

• As a team, Western Washington is fourth in the GNAC with a .310 batting average and a 3.63 earned run average. The Vikings are 33rd in Division II with a .970 fielding percentage.

• The Vikings return home this weekend, hosting Saint Martin’s on Sunday and Central Washington on Monday for GNAC doubleheaders.

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