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NCAA home run leader Cipriano is GNAC, regional POTW

MSUB Cipriano 20.JPG
Posted at 8:15 AM, Mar 26, 2021

(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)

BILLINGS – Daniel Cipriano, who leads all college baseball players across all three NCAA divisions with 11 home runs, was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association West Region Player of the Week announced by the organizations on Monday.

Cipriano hit four home runs, and broke the MSUB single-game record with three long balls in the series opener against Saint Martin’s. He posted a slugging percentage of 1.267 on the weekend and reached base at a clip of .526, while leading the team with nine RBIs. Cipriano also scored seven runs, and finished the week with a .400 batting average to lead MSUB to a 3-1 series victory over Saint Martin’s.

“He continues to do his thing and he is a great leader,” said MSUB head coach Derek Waddoups. “He helps other players on our team get better as well. Guys around him get better pitches, and the awesome thing is he can hit elite pitches. Guys pitch him hard, and it gives the rest of our order a guy on base. He takes his walks when they come, gets hit by pitches, and understands getting on base is part of being a team guy. He impacts the game in a lot of different ways.”

Cipriano helped get MSUB off on the right foot in Game 1 of its series against Saint Martin’s University, homering in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings in the eventual 18-7 win. After 36 other Yellowjacket players hit two home runs in a game dating back to the inaugural 2006 season, Cipriano became the first to hit three. His seven RBIs in the game were a career high and were tied for third most in MSUB single-game history.

Cipriano leads the GNAC and the NCAA D2 west region in slugging percentage at 1.068, home runs with 11, runs batted in with 30, total bases with 63, and times hit by a pitch with eight. Cipriano’s career batting average of .392 ranks him second in GNAC history, and he is the conference’s all-time leader in on-base percentage at .501 and slugging percentage at .856.

Entering the week, Cipriano has hit an MSUB record 36 career home runs, and he ranks second in GNAC history in the category. He is seven home runs shy of the GNAC career record of 43 home runs, set by Chandler Tracy of Saint Martin’s University from 2012-15.

This is Cipriano’s sixth-career GNAC Player of the Week award, tying him for most weekly honors in GNAC history with Sean McDonald of Northwest Nazarene University. It is also Cipriano’s fifth-career NCBWA West Region Player of the Week award, and he earned both honors two weeks ago. It is the third GNAC weekly honor of the season for the baseball team, after Will Riley took home the honor during the team’s opening weekend of the season.

The Yellowjackets (3-13, 3-5 GNAC) are in action this weekend with a four-game series at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. Doubleheaders are set for Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. Pacific time, with live coverage available online here. [msubsports.com]