(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Getting his 2021 season off to a red-hot start last weekend, Montana State University Billings junior Will Riley was named the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Baseball Player of the Week announced by the conference office Monday.
Hitting out of the leadoff spot in MSUB’s four games in Grand Junction, Colorado, Riley went 9-for-18 and reached base at a clip of .571. “In the leadoff spot, he had outstanding at-bats all weekend,” said MSUB head coach Derek Waddoups. “His maturity and leadership in his at-bats led to his individual success, and it contributed to our team’s success offensively.”
Riley was the catalyst for a Yellowjacket lineup that averaged nine runs per game during its opening weekend, and he provided a spark of power as well with a 1.056 slugging percentage. Riley had five extra-base hits in the four games, including a pair of home runs, a pair of doubles, and a triple. He also led the team with seven RBIs, while scoring five times.
Defensively, Riley was nearly flawless with just one error in his 11 total chances. He split time playing both in the outfield and at third base during the series. “Will also played solid defense in the outfield and was fantastic at third base for us,” Waddoups said. “He really helped us improve defensively. I love the way he goes about his business, and love his preparation both physical and mentally.”
In his second year with the ‘Jackets, Riley hit .270 with one home run and nine RBIs in his 16 games played during the abbreviated 2020 season. This is his first-career GNAC Player of the Week award and it is the first of the 2021 season for the Yellowjackets.
MSUB’s baseball team (0-4) is next in action this week with a four-game series at UC Colorado Springs. Live video for the four-game series, which runs Thursday-Saturday, will be available online here [portal.stretchinternet.com] and live statistics will be available online here. [gomountainlions.com]