Yellowjackets Sweep Central Washington, 12-2 and 8-0
ELLENSBURG, Wash. – 20 runs and 26 hits sparked Montana State Billings to a 12-2 and 8-0 sweep in the final doubleheader at Central Washington Saturday afternoon. MSUB takes the series 3-1 and improved to 7-1 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and 13-11 overall. CWU fell to 6-14 overall and 2-6 in conference play.
MSUB dominated the opener to the tune of 12 runs on 15 hits compared to just two runs on seven hits for the Wildcats. The Yellowjackets got things started early and scored often as Patch Wirtzberger reached first courtesy of a wild pitch on the third strike, followed by a Nick Harris single and a fielding error. Stefan Malkuch tallied his first hit of the game with the bases loaded, scoring Wirtzberger for a 1-0 lead in the first.
The Yellowjackets added two more in the second on a Cole Pryor RBI triple and a Wirtzberger single to left. CWU plated a run in the bottom of half of the second to cut the deficit to 3-1.
MSUB poured it on in the third, plating five runs on five hits and one error. Kyle Ailes began the big inning with a two RBI single and a Pryor RBI single. A costly two run error by the Wildcats plated two more runs for an 8-1 lead.
Both teams added a run in the sixth, but MSUB tacked on three more in the eighth on another Malkuch RBI single and RBI groundouts by Matt Schoonover and Ty Sobieraj for the 12-2 score.
Offensively, the Yellowjackets were led by a 4 for 5 outing with three RBI and one run scored by Malkuch. Harris with 3 for 6 with two runs scored and Pryor was 2 for 5 with two RBI and two runs scored. Ryan Skillern also was 2 for 3 with two runs scored.
Archie Smith (2-1) earned the victory as he went eight innings, scattering six hits, two earned runs, three walks and five strikeouts. Jeff Bjorklund pitched the ninth inning, allowing one hit.
"We pitched and hit well today," said head coach Chris Brown. "Archie threw a really good game. he mixed it up and gave us a chance to win. We had five guys who had two or more hits for us. Stefan Malkuch stepped it up with four hits and three RBI's. Up and down the lineup, everyone played well."
CWU was led offensively by catcher Joe Schuester who was 3 for 4 with a RBI and a run scored. Chris Jackson (1-4) takes the loss as he went four innings, allowing nine hits, eight runs – six earned, two walks and three strikeouts. Robbie Grimm also pitched four innings in relief, allowing six hits, four earned runs, two walks and two strikeouts.
The Yellowjackets jumped on the Wildcats early in the nightcap with one run in the first as Pryor walks and a nice sacrifice bunt moved him to second. Pryor then stole third and Joe Via knocked him in with a RBI single for a 1-0 lead. MSUB added two more runs in the fourth on a Schoonover RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Ailes for a 3-0 lead.
Five runs by MSUB in the seventh blew the game wide open as it went ahead 8-0. Ailes came up big again as he doubled to left center scoring Andrew Hernandez to get things going. Wirtzberger also had a RBI single. Harris then had a two RBI single, followed by a Malkuch RBI single.
In the inning, MSUB had five runs on eight hits. In the previous six innings, the Yellowjackets had three runs on just three hits. CWU went down in order in the seventh for the 8-0 final. It was the second time this season that the Wildcats have been shutout as they dropped a 6-0 decision at Cal State Stanislaus in the season opener.
The 8-0 win was the first shutout for MSUB since a 6-0 win at Oklahoma Panhandle State, Mar. 10, 2007. The seven conference victories are the most for MSUB in the GNAC since it joined the league last year. The Yellowjackets had five conference victories last season.
Ailes led the way offensively in the nightcap with a 1 for 2 performance and two RBI. Via and Malkuch each had two hits. Malkuch led the way going 6 for 9 with four RBI in the doubleheader. Steve Scott (3-1) went the distance, scattering six hits and striking out four for his first career shutout as a Yellowjacket.
For the series, MSUB hit .323 and held CWU to just .219 from the plate. The Yellowjackets hammered 43 hits and four extra base hits in the series, while the Wildcats had 23 hits and two extra-base hits. The Yellowjackets had an ERA of just 0.58, allowing only two earned runs and six runs total.
The Yellowjackets will conclude their 28-game road swing next weekend at Saint Martin’s, before opening the home season, Mar. 31, at 3 p.m. at Dehler Park.
"We did what we had to in order to win the game," said coach Brown. "Offensively, when we had people in scoring position, we hit them in. It was a balance attack as everyone had at least a hit. Steve Scott threw a heck of a ball game. He didn't have his best stuff but he grinded it out and found a way to win. It was a good day for us. We are looking to carry the momentum over into our series against Saint Martin's."