(Editor’s note: University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA — Cami Sellers’ program-record 18-game hitting streak spanned more than five weeks. It began on March 17 with a double to right-center against Utah Valley. She wouldn’t go hitless in a game until she went 0 for 2 last Monday in a home win over Providence.
Any mourning Sellers did over the end of the streak was short-lived. And now she’s three games into the next one.
The sophomore went 6 for 10 on Friday and Saturday in three games against Northern Colorado, with five RBIs and two runs scored, as the Grizzlies swept the Bears and played their way into one of six spots at next week’s Big Sky Conference tournament, which will be held in Sacramento, Calif.
As a key part of Montana’s 5-0 week, but mostly for the impact her bat made in the Grizzlies’ important series against Northern Colorado, Sellers was named the Big Sky Player of the Week on Monday.
It was the first career Big Sky accolade for the transfer from Boston College, the second Big Sky Player of the Week honor for the Grizzlies this season. Maygen McGrath won the award in February.
Colleen Driscoll was named the Big Sky Pitcher of the Week two weeks ago.
Sellers actually went hitless in two games against the Argos on Monday to open the week but still reached base five times in her six plate appearances, drawing four walks and reaching once by error.
The streak, which surpassed Bethany Olea’s program record of 17 from 2017, was over, but it didn’t come to an end because Sellers was slipping into a slump.
“Anybody who is in a streak never wants it to end,” said coach Melanie Meuchel. “One thing I’m proud of with Cami is that when it did end, it never felt like there was a lull with her at the plate.
“The streak may have ended, but I feel like her hitting didn’t take time off.” Indeed. Sellers just kept raking.
She went 2 for 4 in Game 1 on Friday against Northern Colorado. One of those hits was a walk-off, two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh, as Montana completed a rally from a 4-0 deficit to win 6-4.
She went 1 for 2 with two walks in a 4-2 victory in Game 2 on Friday, then gave her team a series sweep on Saturday with another decisive hit in Game 3.
With the series finale tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth and with a runner on second with one out, the Bears opted to take their chances with Sellers instead of treading lightly with first base open.
Valerie Vidal’s second pitch to Sellers was lined over the fence in right-center to put the Grizzlies up 4-2. That’s how it ended after Colleen Driscoll pitched a 1-2-3 top of the seventh.
Four of Sellers’ six hits against Northern Colorado went for extra bases. She finished the series with a Ruthian 1.400 slugging percentage, totaling 14 bases in 10 at-bats.
Sellers was batting .295 when her hitting streak began more than a month ago. It was at .351 after it reached 18 games at Weber State.
With the streak no longer active — at least that streak — she upped her season average to .361 last week to move up to fifth in the Big Sky statistics.
“What you hope for when the time comes that a streak does end is that it mentally doesn’t take a toll on somebody,” said Meuchel.
“Cami’s bat has stayed present throughout. I’m excited that she had the streak, and I’m excited that she’s continuing to hit very well for us.”
Sellers leads the Big Sky in hits with 60. Twenty-nine of those have gone for extra bases. She leads the league in doubles with 21 — a total that equals Delene Colburn’s program record from 2015 — and also has a triple and now seven home runs, six of which came in April.
Only Delene Colburn (34 in 2017, 32 in 2015) and Sydney Stites (32 in 2016) have had more extra-base hits in a season for the Grizzlies.
Sellers and Montana will play a three-game series at Southern Utah on Saturday and Sunday, then make their way to Sacramento. The double-elimination Big Sky tournament opens a week from Wednesday.