Best season in Jackets' history ends at GNAC tourney - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Best season in Jackets' history ends at GNAC tourney

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Western Oregon University scored 10 runs in the first two innings and never looked back, rolling to an 18-1 win over the Montana State University Billings baseball team Friday at Vail Baseball Field to eliminate the Yellowjackets from the 2016 Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships and end the best season in program history.

The Yellowjackets finished the year with a record of 30-20, and claimed their second-straight regular-season conference title by tying for the No. 1 spot at 23-15 in league games. The 30 wins topped last season’s mark of 27 victories, and MSUB won 12 of its final 15 games to close the year.

“A lot of these guys were part of two regular-season championships, and I have to tip my cap to all of our guys,” said MSUB head coach Rob Bishop. “We fought through a lot of adversity this year, and we finished really strong.”

Trevor Podratz hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and five different Wolves had RBI-hits in the second as WOU pounced on the Yellowjackets. Wolves ace and 2016 GNAC Pitcher of the Year Brady Miller had seven strikeouts and three walks, while giving up one run on six hits in six innings. Jacob Fricke finished the game for WOU, striking out four and giving up just two hits in the final three innings.

MSUB starter Matt Hape allowed seven runs on five hits with two walks in one-plus innings. Senior Lee Busto was the most effective of four relievers used, as he had two strikeouts and gave up just two baserunners in four strong innings.

Colter Sternhagen was the lone Yellowjacket with multiple hits, as he went 2-for-3 with a run scored in his final career game. Seniors Luke Reinschmidt, Corey Morris, and Kevin Toon each also had hits in their final career game as Yellowjackets.

Nathan Etheridge had a three-run home run in the fifth inning, and finished the day 3-for-5 with five RBIs. Podratz went 4-for-6 with four RBIs, and catcher Justin Wakem went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for WOU.

MSUB totaled eight hits in the game while WOU had 18 hits and 17 RBIs. Sternhagen scored the lone run for the Yellowjackets, crossing the plate on a wild pitch in the sixth inning.

THE BUZZ: Busto was selected as the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…Busto finished with the fifth-most appearances in GNAC history with 72 in his four seasons…the ‘Jackets were without senior third baseman Kyle Durbin, who exited Thursday’s game against NNU with an injury…Reinschmidt finished his career fourth in GNAC history in triples (12), sixth in RBIs (127), seventh in doubles (44), eighth in home runs (22), 10th in runs (129) and total bases (326), 13th in hits (192), and 16th in at bats (545) and stolen bases (31).

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