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MSU Billings baseball, softball players make GNAC All-Academic teams

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Posted at 9:47 AM, Apr 18, 2022

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A dozen Montana State University Billings softball players and seven baseball players team have been named to the 2022 academic all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference list.

To earn all-academic honors, players must carry a minimum of a 3.2 grade point average and be in their second season competing at their current institution. Of the 12 honorees, nine were repeat selections and three were first-time award winners. MSUB has had more than 10 academic all-conference selections for three years in a row.

“We are very proud of our 12 athletes that earned GNAC academic awards,” MSUB head softball coach Lisa McKinney said. “Big shout out to Coach Taylor Olsen for running all the academic meetings she does to help keep the athletes on track. We are fortunate to have a team full of athletes that take their academics seriously and want to thrive not only on the field, but also in the classroom. It is a huge accomplishment to maintain those grades with how much we have been on the road this season. Again, we are very proud of them.”

Outfielders Claire Bagnell and Shelby Marquardt led the team with 3.98 grade-point-averages. Bagnell, an English major, made three starts in right field, scored 12 runs as a pinch runner and recorded the first hit of her collegiate career against Washburn on Feb. 11. Marquardt is a Health and Human Performance major who has appeared in 27 games while starting the past seven games in the outfield. The Sparks, Nev. native had her first multi-hit game when she went 2-for-3 against Cal State East Bay in the Tournament of Champions, plus she drove in her first run last weekend in the series finale versus Northwest Nazarene.

Of MSUB’s dozen award-winners, fifth-year seniors Brittanee Fisher and Allie Hughes are MSUB’s first four-time academic all-conference selections. A HHP major with an emphasis on education, Fisher has led the Yellowjackets in virtually every offensive category amongst qualified hitters, including batting average (.337), OPS (1.113), on-base percentage (.471), hits (32), runs (19), RBIs (22), home runs (8) and walks drawn (20). Her 3.85 GPA is the third-highest on the team.

Hughes, a fellow HHP major, has started in 33 of the 35 games in which she has played, ranks third on the team with 13 runs scored and is tied for fifth on the team with 21 hits. The leftfielder leads all MSUB outfielders with a .978 fielding percentage on 46 chances, the latter of which is second-most amongst outfielders.

Alyssa Etheridge, Payton Meyer, Sydney Norwood and Morgan Quimby were MSUB’s three-time academic all-conference selections. Etheridge leads the pitching staff with a 3.69 earned run average and seven complete games; the HHP major ranks third in the conference with 83 strikeouts. Meyer, a HHP major and a Billings native, has made six starts in right field over the past 13 games; she recorded the first multi-hit game of her career against Western Washington on March 26. Norwood is another Billings native and a HHP major; the fifth-year senior first baseman has appeared in 10 games this season and has started in three. Rounding out the three-time honorees is Quimby, a business administration major, is fourth on the team with 22 hits and she has been the starting second baseman in 36 of the 39 games.

Marquardt, Marin Penney and Julia Qualteri were MSUB’s two-time honorees. Majoring in business administration, Penney has made 33 starts at third base, ranks third in the GNAC with 72 assists and is tied for fourth on the team with 21 hits. A fellow business administration major, Qualteri ranks second on the team with 45 strikeouts this season and leads the team with five wins.

Sophomores Brie Frazier, Jenna Kister and the aforementioned Bagnell earned academic all-GNAC honors for the first time in their careers. A HHP major, Frazier has notched seven of her 13 starts in the month of April. Kister, meanwhile, is a Special Education major who has recorded four complete games this season; she tied her career high with eight strikeouts against Northwest Nazarene on April 8.

MSUB was the GNAC team with the second-most selections to the academic all-GNAC team; Northwest Nazarene led the way with 14 players making the list.

The list of baseball Yellowjackets includes a pair of three-time selections in seniors PJ Ausmus and Dylan Barkley, and five first-time picks in Hayden Foltz, Matthew Houlihan, Justin Lutz, Mason Powell, and Logan Siblerud. “I am proud of the academic accomplishments of our team as a whole, and specifically for our all-GNAC student-athletes,” said MSUB head coach Derek Waddoups. “This is a group of leaders both on and off the field. Watching them excel as people, students, and athletes is what creates the culture we desire in our ‘Jacket baseball family.”

Ausmus and Barkley were among 10 players in the conference to earn academic honors for the third time in their careers. Ausmus has seen action in 14 games this spring, while making eight starts and holding a .303 batting average while primarily playing second base. He is a marketing major with a 3.62 grade point average.

The ace of MSUB’s pitching staff, Barkley ranks second in the GNAC with 51 strikeouts while holding a 5.13 ERA over his 10 starts this season. Barkley is an organizational communications major with a 3.54 GPA.

Foltz is the Yellowjackets’ rightfielder, and ranks second on the team with a .339 batting average through 30 games played this season. Foltz’s 12 doubles are tied for the team lead, and he leads the squad with 34 RBIs. Foltz is an accounting major with a 3.55 GPA.

Another member of the MSUB pitching staff, Houlihan earned the award by maintaining a 3.35 GPA while working towards his degree in health and human performance. Houlihan has made 10 starts this season, and holds a 5.06 ERA with 49 strikeouts in his 48 innings pitched.

A third-year Yellowjacket, Lutz earned academic honors with a 3.88 GPA while studying finance. Lutz has played in 23 games with 15 starts, and is a .255 hitter with a team-leading three triples.

Powell led the team in GPA with a mark of 3.95, earning his first academic all-conference selection while working towards a degree in management. Powell is hitting .274 this season, while starting 18 games at third base.

Siblerud was another first-time pick for the ‘Jackets, maintaining a 3.27 GPA and also studying management. Siblerud has made five appearances on the mound this season, all coming out of the bullpen.

To be eligible for academic all-conference, players must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher, be in at least their second season with their team, and compete on the field during the season.

The Yellowjackets (20-18, 11-9 GNAC) host Saint Martin’s University in a four-game series set for April 22-23 at Dehler Park.