(MSUB Athletics release)
GREELEY, Colo. – An 11-run first inning by host University of Northern Colorado spoiled the series finale for Montana State University Billings on Monday, as the Yellowjackets lost 18-6 at Jackson Field.
The day got off to a promising start when Ryan Myers launched a three-run home run in the top of the first inning for his third long ball of the season. Things quickly deteriorated on the mound however, as MSUB gave up seven walks, two hit batters, four wild pitches, six hits, a balk, and a passed ball to account for UNC’s game-defining turn at the plate.
Brett Minnick and Cole Maltese each had three-run home runs in the opening inning, and MSUB never recovered from the large deficit early. Minnick finished the game 3-for-5 with four RBIs and a pair of runs scored, and Maltese and Matt Burkart each drove in three runs in the game to lead the Bears at the plate.
The ‘Jackets finished the non-conference portion of their schedule with a 5-5 record, and move on to the 40-game Great Northwest Athletic Conference season next week.
Northern Colorado improved to 3-3 overall on the season with the win, as it bookended the three-game set against the ‘Jackets with victories over the weekend. Hayden Humphrey went 3-for-4 in the game, while Myers, Jalen Garcia, and Chase Teter each had a pair of hits.
MSUB got a run back in the third on a sacrifice fly by Matt Dillon, but Burkart delivered an RBI-single in the bottom of the frame as the Bears struck back immediately.
Garcia launched his third home run of the year to cut the deficit down to 12-6 in the fourth, only to watch Connor Leedholm answer with a two-run shot in the bottom of the inning. Leedholm also claimed the win on the mound, as he gave up just one hit and fanned three batters in 2 1/3 innings of relief.
The Yellowjackets used nine different pitchers in the game, while UNC got innings out of five different arms. The game was relatively clean defensively, with each team committing one error on the afternoon.
Travis Edgar was one of the bright spots on the mound for MSUB, as he finished the game by striking out the side in the bottom of the eighth inning. Dakota Weindel also contributed a scoreless frame, striking out one hitter during a perfect sixth inning.
THE BUZZ: Myers was tabbed the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…MSUB is now 1-12 all-time against UNC…the 18 runs allowed were the most by MSUB since an 18-1 loss to Western Oregon at the GNAC Championships on May 13, 2016…the home run was the 14th of Myers’ career, as he moved into sole possession of No. 3 in MSUB history after he clobbered 11 long balls in his first year as a ‘Jacket in 2017.
COMING UP: Conference play begins next weekend with a three-game series at Concordia University. Doubleheaders are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Portland, Ore., and live video and live statistics will be available for all four games online through the MSUB Stretch Internet portal here.