(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – A standout debut season by Montana State University Billings outfielder Jalen Garcia has earned the Billings native a reputation, as he was selected as a National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association preseason second-team all-west region honoree announced by the organization on Wednesday.
“It is a great honor for Jalen to be recognized in the preseason,” said second-year MSUB head coach Aaron Sutton. “It is a testament to the hard work he has put in year round. We know he is excited to get out this spring and do what he can to help the ball club win games.”
Garcia earned second-team all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore in 2017, starting 38 games and playing perfect defense in 82 chances as the Yellowjackets’ rightfielder. Garcia ranked second on the team with 38 RBIs despite missing 10 games with an injury, and was also second on the squad with a batting average of .327. After transferring from Corban University (Ore.), Garcia hit 11 doubles and five home runs in his first year at MSUB.
Batting towards the top of the lineup, Garcia reached base at a clip of .380 and was third on the Yellowjackets’ team with nine stolen bases. He earned one GNAC Player of the Week award last year, and had 14 multi-hit performances.
Garcia was one of six GNAC players selected to the NCBWA preseason all-region squad, and the only Yellowjacket on the list. Northwest Nazarene University’s Casey Sheehan was the lone GNAC player recognized among the preseason first-team all-region honorees.
MSUB was among teams receiving votes in the NCBWA preseason top-10 rankings, which were also released Wednesday. UC San Diego, which went 44-19 a season ago, was the top pick in the preseason poll with 77 points including 6 of 8 first-place votes. From the GNAC, Western Oregon University checked in at No. 7 in the preseason west-region rankings.
The Yellowjackets begin their 2018 campaign with four games in St. George, Utah from Feb. 8-10, as they make a quest for their fourth straight trip to the GNAC Championships. MSUB finished the year 23-29 overall in 2017, and tied for third place in the GNAC standings with a conference record of 21-19.