(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Sweeping the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Week awards, Matthew Houlihan and Mitch Winter of the Montana State University Billings baseball team each earned the honor announced by the conference office on Monday.
Houlihan claimed his second-career GNAC Pitcher of the Week award, while Winter earned his first GNAC Player of the Week honor.
Houlihan authored a one-hit shutout in MSUB’s 2-0 win over Saint Martin’s in Game 2 of a four-game split. The senior had a career-high 11 strikeouts in the seven-inning masterpiece, which was the first shutout of his collegiate career. “Houlihan really shined in one of the best pitcher’s duels we have played all year,” said MSUB head coach Derek Waddoups. “He really had great command and electric stuff. He was able to pitch ahead and put guys away with swing and miss stuff. His 11 Ks were impressive, along with the one-hit shutout.”
Houlihan’s win in the game – his team-leading fifth of the season – came courtesy of a two-run home run off the bat of Winter which proved to be the game-winning hit. Winter went on to homer three more times on Day 2 of the series, giving him four total on the weekend. He went 6-for-9, reached base in 8 of 11 plate appearances, and slugged 1.556 in the four-game series. Winter also drove in eight runs and scored five times.
“Mitch took clutch at-bat after clutch at-bat this weekend,” said Waddoups. “Not only did he hit the four bombs, but it seemed like he was always on base for us. He was definitely a game-changer having the only RBIs in Game 2, as well as the big home runs in Games 3 and 4. Mitch is an outstanding teammate, and it is awesome seeing him perform for the guys.”
Winter’s big weekend pulled him up to third in the GNAC with eight home runs on the season, and he now ranks 11th in the league with 26 runs batted in. Winter’s slugging percentage of .625 leads the team and the GNAC as well. Houlihan meanwhile ranks second in the conference with 60 strikeouts on the season, with his ERA of 4.42 ranking eighth and his 55.0 innings pitched ranking fourth.
The Yellowjackets have now won eight GNAC Player of the Week awards, with six different players earning the honor during the 2022 season.
MSUB (22-20, 13-11 GNAC) is on the road this weekend for a four-game series at Northwest Nazarene University. Live coverage for the series will be available online here. [msubsports.com]