Baseball Weekly Report

March 18, 2015 Contact: Nathan Webber (503)305-8756/nwebber@gnacsports.com Wildcats Bounce Back as Saint’s Resume Conference Play PORTLAND, Ore. – After a disappointing series against conference leader Western Oregon, Central Washington responded by taking three-of-four from the GNAC’s secondplace team, Northwest Nazarene. The Wildcats, which were ranked ninth in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s West Region poll Monday, moved into a tie for second in the conference while pushing their overall record above .500. Standings and Schedule GNAC Team Western Oregon Northwest Nazarene Central Washington MSU Billings Saint Martin’s W 9 4 6 2 2 L 2 4 6 5 6 Overall W 13 14 12 7 8 L 14 11 10 16 14 S W6 W1 L1 L3 L3 UPCOMING GAMES The series was tight as each of the four games were decided by three runs or less. The Wildcats scored late after trailing much of the first two games, edging the Crusaders by one-run each time. In game one CWU was down 6-7 in the bottom of the eighth before Johnathan Dailey hit a two-run double for the gamewinner. Game two was decided in extra-innings. After falling behind in the top of the 10th, GNAC Player of the Week Ryan Atkinson hit a double into left field to tie the game before Ben Dunbar hit a single to third base for the walk-off. The Crusaders edged the Wildcats in game three, 7-6, but Central clinched the series with an 8-5 win in game four in thanks to a four-run fourth inning. Senior Cory Welch recorded the save in the first and last games of the series, taking back the conference lead with five. Central Washington will face a well-rested Saint Martin’s team Saturday and Sunday. The Saints had their alumni game cancelled last week, meaning this weekend’s series will be their first action in two weeks. The Saints will look to take their first series since sweeping Concordia in mid-February. Since then, SMU has gone 2-6 against a few of the top teams in the GNAC. Even with the team’s struggles and two-week layoff, the Lacey baseball team still ranks in the upper portion of the conference in home runs and earned run average. Western Oregon earned its third-straight series win last week, taking three from MSUB in Monmouth. The Wolves held the GNAC’s top-ranked offense to a .181 batting average while allowing only nine earned runs. FRIDAY, March 20 Montana State Billings at Northwest Nazarene (DH), 3 p.m./6 p.m. SATURDAY, March 21 Montana State Billings at Northwest Nazarene (DH), 1 p.m./4 p.m. Saint Martin’s at Central Washington (DH), 1 p.m./4 p.m. SUNDAY, March 22 Saint Martin’s at Central Washington (DH), 12 p.m./3 p.m. Around the GNAC  The Central Washington – Saint Martin’s series has been moved from Lacey to Ellensburg due to bad weather. Because of the switch, the Wildcats series against the Saints April 25-26 will be played in Lacey.  Game four of the Montana State Billings and Western Oregon series was postponed due to unplayable conditions. The last game in the series, which was suspended in the top of the first, will be played April 17 or 18 when the Wolves travel to Billings.  Eight GNAC players rank in the top 10 in Division II in six different categories. Two of these players are from Northwest Nazarene as Andrew Helmstadter is tied for first in triples and Colben McGuire is tied for sixth with Central’s Brandon Williams having three complete games.  Central Washington’s Atkinson was named the GNAC Player of the week after helping the Wildcats to a series win. Atkinson hit for a .533 average while driving in eight runs. He also hit two home runs and three doubles while scoring four times in the series. Pitcher of the Week honors went to Western Oregon’s Jesse Pratt, who threw his second consecutive complete game in the Wolves 8-1 win over MSUB. Pratt allowed two hits while striking out six in seven innings of work. GNACsports.com | @GNACsports | #GNACbaseball