NCAA Division II GNAC: 2019 Preview

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Central Washington University – Ellensburg, WA

Head Coach Desi Storey (28th year)
Assistants Ken Wilson, Kellen Camus
Affiliation NCAA Divison II
Conference GNAC
Website http://wildcatsports.com/
2018 Record 27-26 overall, 21-19 (3rd in conference)
Top Returning Players Connor Stevenson, SR, RHP, 1st team All-GNAC (5-5 W/L,  4.40 ERA)
Tyler Hoefer, JR, RHP (5-0 W/L, 4.80 ERA)
Justin Hampson, JR, OF, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (.327 avg, 36 R)
Mitch Lesmeister, SO, INF, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (.294 avg, 28 R)
Top New Players Hunter French, JR, RHP, Columbia Basin CC (4-3 W/L, 4.30 ERA)
Cameron McGrath, JR, INF, Everett CC (.287g avg, 33 R)
Head Coach Commentary “Our goal is to compete for the conference title again in the increasingly competitive GNAC.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “We are a competitive, well respected and close knit program in a great conference at an excellent affordable university.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Storey is the longest tenured head coach in college baseball in the Northwest, beginning his 28th year in Ellensburg. The former Wildcat player and assistant coach has 610 wins leading the Wildcats and is the most winningest coach in Wildcat baseball history. CWU will be looking to return to the post season for the third straight year. Hampson, Lesmeister, and Hassell provide a solid core of offense which was 2nd in most key league offensive categories last year. Stevenson is the top starting pitcher to return after making 12 starts and being 6th in the league in strikeouts. The bullpen had solid production last year from Hoefer and Forrester.

The Wildcats travel to northern California to take on Cal State Stanislaus February 1st and to Academy of Art on February 8th. Saint Martin’s comes to CWU Field for the GNAC opener on March 2nd. Go Wildcats!

BBNW Alumni on the Roster 13

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Concordia University – Portland, OR

Head Coach Rob Vance (21st year)
Assistants Jeff Bard, Garrett DeGallier, James Threw
Affiliation NCAA Division II
Conference GNAC
Website http://www.gocugo.com/
2018 Record 20-32 overall, 19-21 (4th in conference)
Top Returning Players Isaac Mitchum, R-SR, RHP, 1st Team All-GNAC, GNAC All-Academic (4.31 ERA, 43 K)
Dylan Diaz, SO, RHP (4 saves, 37 K)
Kaleb Jones, SR, RHP, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (5-4 W/L, 30 K)
Jake Roes, SR, LHP, GNAC FAR Scholar Athlete (4.35 ERA, 39 K)
Dominic Enbody, SO, C (.367 avg)
Trevor Huddleston, SR, LHP/OF
Jordan Farhat, SR, INF/RHP
Top New Players Liam Knowles, JR, INF, Laney College
Garrett Smith, R-JR, RHP, Univ. of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Ryan Gibson, JR, RHP/INF, Laney College
Damon Peters, JR, INF, Linn Benton CC
Jared Akin, JR, RHP, Lower Columbia CC
Tyler Pruitt, FR, INF, Sunrise Mountain HS (AZ)
Dupree Simmons, FR, INF, Northview HS (CA)
Tyler White, FR, UTIL, Jesuit HS (CA)
Isaac Lovings, FR, C, Sunset HS (OR)
Head Coach Commentary “We are very excited about our club for 2019! We have some depth on the mound, and we are very athletic. Should be an exciting year!”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Here at Concordia, our goal is to recruit and graduate student athletes that will help us win a National Championship.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Vance begins his 21st year as the head of Concordia baseball and led them to a berth in the GNAC Championship Tournament in their first season of NCAA Division 2 eligibility last year. He shared the 2018 GNAC Coach of the Year honors with MSUB’s Aaron Sutton. Four senior pitchers (Mitchum, Jones, Roes, Huddleston) made 46 starts a year ago with solid success, so pitching should be a strength of the 2019 Cavaliers. Diaz proved himself with 2 wins and 4 saves out of the bullpen. The offense will need to be rebuilt; Concordia will look to Huddleston, Farhat, and Hatch who had the most at-bats of those returning. Enbody had good production in a part-time role last year. The Cavaliers look to have a decent group of JC transfers and freshmen that will help bolster this season’s roster.

Concordia opens the 2019 schedule at LC State on February 1st before a California trip to play at San Francisco State and UC San Diego. Their GNAC opener is at Porter Park vs. Northwest Nazarene on March 1st. Concordia’s Porter Park will be the host for this year’s GNAC Championship Tournament May 8-10. Go Cavaliers!

BBNW Alumni on Roster 16

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Montana State University – Billings, MT

Head Coach Aaron Sutton (3rd year)
Assistants Ryan Wright, Grant Hamilton, Matt Hape
Affiliation NCAA Division II
Conference GNAC
Website https://msubsports.com/
2018 Record 32-18 overall, 29-11 (1st in conference)
Top Returning Players

Steen Fredrickson, SR, RHP, GNAC Conference Pitcher of the Year, NCBWA West-Region Honorable Mention (7-1 W/L , 69 1/3 IP, 70 K)

Jalen Garcia, SR, CF, 1st Team All-GNAC, 2nd Team NCBWA West Region, 2nd Team ABCA West Region (.351 avg, 20 2B, 7 3B, 9 HR, 51 RBI, 25 SB)

Conner Linebarger, SR,  2B, 1st Team All-GNAC (.333 avg, 11 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR, 44 RBI)

Andrew Schleusner, JR, C, 2nd Team All-GNAC (.325 avg, 13 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 38 RBI, 6 SB)

Wyatt Setian, SO, SS, 2nd Team All-GNAC (.229, 7 2B, 4 HR, 24 RBI, 2 SB, .926 FLD %)

Jared Winslow, SR, RHP, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (5-3, 52 IP, 36 K)

Top New Players Jarod Molnaa, SR, RHP, Bellevue University
Chris Arpan, JR, 3B/1B, University of Portland
Sterling Lay, JR, LHP, Salt Lake CC
Keven Mackintosh, JR, LHP, Lamar CC
Brooks Zimmer, FR, RHP, Billings Senior HS (MT)
Head Coach Commentary

“Going to be a battle for our team right out the gates as we have the opportunity to play some really good teams early in our preseason before turning our attention to conference play.  The GNAC continues to get better and better each year and will be a very tough season for all six teams.  Once again Coach Wright and Coach Hamilton have done an outstanding job bringing in quality young men to Billings.  We will have a good combo of key returners to go along with some new faces that should bring a dynamic style of baseball to the field.”

What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Our staff and players really feel that we are building something special in Billings and establishing an environment that is much bigger and impactful than just baseball.  The support and direction for Jacket baseball continues to grow and we all have to be very excited for what the future has in store.”
BBNW Analysis MSU-Billings is coming off a first-place finish in the regular season schedule before losing in the conference tournament final. Coach Sutton in his 3rd season has the Yellowjackets ready to finish the deal in 2019. They dominated the GNAC offensive statistics in 2018 including some conference all time marks. A strong
core of the offensive contributors are returning, led by Garcia who has player of the year potential. On the pitching side, Frederickson (13), Winslow (10), and senior Jared Wong (12) made the most starts of pitchers that are returning in the conference. MSUB also led the conference in pitching strikeouts. The roster includes 15 home-grown Montana players.The Yellowjackets open 2019 competition at Colorado Mesa February 9th before going to Western Oregon on March 2nd for league play. Dehler Park welcomes home MSUB on March 15th vs. Central Washington. Go Yellowjackets!
BBNW Alumni on Roster 24

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Northwest Nazarene University – Nampa, ID

Head Coach Joe Schaefer (1st year)
Assistants Matt Hollod, Billy Newberry, Sean Rooney
Affiliation NCAA Division II
Conference GNAC
Website http://www.nnusports.com/
2018 Record 19-31 overall, 17-23 (5th in conference)
Top Returning Players Parker Price, JR, 2B, 2nd Team All-GNAC (.324 avg, 13 2B, 42 R, 26 RBI, 12 SB)
Bennet Tabaracci, SR, CF (.297 avg, 6 2B, 21 R, 15 RBI, 4 SB)
Dylan Cure, SR, C (.286 avg, 5 2B, 3 HR, 17 R, 16 RBI)
Kyle Redford, SR, 1B (.274 avg, 9 2B, 5 HR, 30 R, 29 RBI, 13 SB)
Jesse Hilyard, SR, OF (.255 avg, 7 2B, 7 HR, 20 R, 22 RBI, 7 SB,
3.93 ERA, 34 IP, 26 K, 3 saves)
Greg Casper, SR, RHP (4.84 ERA, 4-4 W/L, 57 IP, 68 K)
Top New Players Shawn Grandmont, JR, 3B, College of Southern Idaho
Michael Hults, R-JR, C/INF, Chemeketa CC
Jonathan Ringer, JR, LHP – Miles City CC
Bailey Daguio, JR, RHP – College of Southern Idaho
Nick Irwin, FR, RHP – Kamiakin HS (WA)
Head Coach Commentary “We have a pretty offensive team that shouldn’t have a problem scoring runs.  We have decent team speed and can play pretty good defense.  We have some talented pitchers but lack a little depth on the mound.  This team works very hard and will get better with every week, and if we can develop a couple guys on the mound, we should have a shot at the end of the year.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “The future is very bright here at NNU. We are working hard to continue to develop our facility into one of the best in the Northwest.  We have a very experienced and passionate coaching staff that has had a lot of success over the past 10 years.  We expect to be a program that contends for championships for a long time.”
BBNW Analysis Joe Schaefer takes over the head coaching reins of NNU after 10 years and 341 wins at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, CA. The former Point Loma player and assistant coach led the Sea Lions to the D2 national tournament in 2016 and 2018 and the NAIA National Tournament in 2009 and 2010. The experienced position players and the new pitchers will be a key to the Nighthawks return to the GNAC Tournament. Parker Price, a Gonzaga transfer, is as good an all-around player as any in the league. Casper’s potential is strong, demonstrated last year by being 10th in ERA, 2nd in strikeouts, and 1st in batting average against. Hilyard is a unique two-way contributor and should carry a big load. The defense was solid a year ago (2nd in fielding), and NNU led the conference in steals.

The Nighthawks travel to St. George, UT for a couple 2-game sets vs. Dixie State and Colorado Mesa to kick the season off. The conference games begin on the road at Concordia March 1st. Montana State Billings comes to Vail Field for Nighthawk fans’ first look on March 8th. Go Nighthawks! And welcome to the Northwest, Coach Schaefer!

BBNW Alumni on Roster 17

saint martins

Saint Martin’s University – Lacey, WA

Head Coach  Kelly Gau (1st year)
Assistants  Joey Swanson, Cole Booker, Andy Forgione
Affiliation  NCAA Division II
Conference  GNAC
Website  http://www.smusaints.com/
2018 Record  11-37 overall, 10-30 (6th in conference)
Top Returning Players Austin Feist, SR, RF, 1st Team All-GNAC, GNAC All-Academic Team (.320 avg, 12 2B, 6 HR, 57 H, .991 F%)
Ryne Oshiro, SO, INF, 2nd Team All-GNAC (.328 avg, 3 HR, 57 H)
Tanner Inouye, JR, RHP, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (5.75 ERA, 37 K)
Luke Hare, SR, RHP, NCBWA Pre Season All-Region Team, GNAC All Academic Team (18 IP, 21 K)
Top New Players Elijah Santiago, JR, CF, Edmonds CC
Zach Alcos, FR, RHP, Saint Francis HS (HI)
Cody Chavis, FR, OF, Sumner HS (WA)
Aaron Renaud, R-FR, 1B, Saint Louis HS (HI)
Head Coach Commentary “We’ve added key personnel to our staff in pitching coach Cole Brocker and assistant coach Andy Forgione that have really helped us get off on the right foot since fall ball started.  We have a lot of experience with veteran players in the infield, outfield, and pitching staff. The expectations have definitely been raised, and we feel strongly about our chances to compete for a GNAC title.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “Our balance of academics and athletics provide a unique opportunity for our student-athletes to be prepared for life after baseball. We recently added a new exercise science degree program that along with historically strong engineering and business schools, will provide multiple options for incoming students. We operate in competitive environments on a daily basis which provides a basis for our program to reaching new heights.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Gau, a NW product, gets the interim tag removed from last season to lead the Saints in 2019. He took over during a difficult 2018 season with the passing of long-time head coach Ken Garland. Feist should ignite the offense after leading the Saints in most offensive categories last year. Oshiro had a very solid year with the bat as a freshman. Tanner Inouye, Clark Streby, Ryan Dorney, and Mickey Walker gained a lot of experience on the mound combining for 35 starts in 2018.

The Saints will open on the road February 1st vs. Cal State San Bernadino and Dixie State before
their league start at Central Washington on March 2nd. Saints Field will host Concordia on March 9th to start the home schedule. Go Saints!

BBNW Alumni on Roster 16

WOUWolves

Western Oregon University – Monmouth, OR

Head Coach Kellen Walker (7th year)
Assistants Mike McInerney, Miles Kizer, Boog Leach, Shawn Domke
Affiliation NCAA Division II
Conference GNAC
Website http://www.wouwolves.com/
2018 Record 27-21 overall, 24-16 (2nd in conference, tournament champion)
Top Returning Players Alex Roth, JR, RHP, 1st Team All-GNAC (3.77 ERA, 5-1 W/L, 57.1 IP, 58 SO, 11 BB)
Jared McDonald, SR, C, 1st Team All-GNAC (.349 avg, 15 2B, 9 HR, 35 RBI)
Jacob Fricke, SR, LHP, 2nd Team All-GNAC (4.01 ERA, 3-2 W/L, 51.2 IP, 32 SO, 19 BB)
Connor McCord, JR, LHP/1B, 2nd Team All-GNAC (.306 avg, 11 2B, 11 HR, 48 RBI)
Griffey Halle, SR, OF, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (.312 avg, 10 2B, 5 HR, 32 RBI)
Justin Wakem, SR, C, All-GNAC Honorable Mention (.289 avg, 8 2B, 13 RBI)
Top New Players Patrick Chung, SR, INF, Gonzaga
Austin Crowson, JR, LHP, Nevada-Reno
Colling Runge, SR, INF, Scottsdale
Tommy Ahlstrom, SR, UTL, Chemeketa CC
Head Coach Commentary “We are excited for the early season tests where we will face two front line programs.  LC-State and Fresno Pacific have talented rosters top to bottom and will be extremely well coached.  These two early season road series should help us prepare for the week in, week out battles we will face in the always tough GNAC.”
What would you want a prospective student-athlete to know about your program? “We take a lot of pride in recruiting quality people to be a part of our program.  We want players who want to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of a college degree and maximizing their baseball abilities in a team atmosphere.”
BBNW Analysis Coach Walker took a leave of absence in 2018 and Coach McInerney and Coach Kizer stepped in to lead the Wolves to their 4th conference tournament championship in 6 years, and their 2nd in a row. Walker will be back for his 7th season and with 142 conference wins is tied for 3rd in all time coaching wins in the GNAC. Deep pitching staffs and consistent defense have become keys to their success; the Wolves were the conference leader in most categories. Roth (1st in ERA), Jacob Fricke (2nd in ERA), and Gabe Benavides return having made 28 starts between them last year. Kolbe Bales was dominate out of the bullpen with a 1.12 ERA and was named GNAC Freshman of the Year. The returning offense is led byMcDonald, McCord, and Halle who combined for 25 home runs a year ago.

The Wolves travel to LC State February 8th to begin the season, before opening the league schedule at home vs. Montana State-Billings on March 2nd. Go Wolves!

BBNW Alumni on Roster 21

These season previews were compiled by Jeff McKay and Josh Warner.

View other season previews here:
NAIA West
Northwest Conference (NCAA Division III)
NCAA Division I
Monday-Friday, February 18-22: NWAC Week, including ID/MT Junior Colleges