(MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – After wrapping up its third Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title earlier this week, the Montana State University Billings baseball team also led the league with 13 academic all-conference selections announced by the conference office Friday.
“This group of guys is special,” said MSUB head coach Aaron Sutton. “They commit to excellence, and it’s on and off the field. They are the true definition of what it means to be a student-athlete. With the amount of travel our schedule required for much of the year, it is even more impressive with how these guys stayed on top of classwork and made it a priority. A lot of credit goes to their outstanding professors and faculty members, who are extremely helpful working with our hectic schedules.”
Senior Jarod Paul has the top grade point average in the GNAC, carrying a perfect 4.00 mark while completing his degree in health and human performance.
Senior Adam Cox was one of four players in the GNAC to receive academic all-conference for the third time in his career, as he carries a 3.72 GPA while completing a degree in criminal justice. Cox also leads the GNAC with six saves this season, and has a 3.04 earned run average with 41 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings pitched.
Other repeat selections on the academic all-GNAC team for MSUB included juniors Matt Dillon, Steen Fredrickson, and Jared Winslow. Dillon has battled an injury this season, playing in 22 games while hitting a pair of home runs and driving in 11 on the season. He is majoring in healthcare administration and has a 3.82 GPA.
Fredrickson has emerged as one of the top pitchers in the GNAC, leading the league with 69 strikeouts through 12 starts on the mound this spring. The Ashland, Ore., native holds a 3.85 GPA while studying finance.
A native of Libby, Mont., Winslow has been another reliable arm for MSUB both as a starter and out of the bullpen. He carries a 5.02 ERA in 43.0 innings pitched, and is No. 2 in MSUB history with 12 career wins. Winslow has a stellar 3.93 cumulative GPA, and is working towards a degree in health and human performance.
Nine Yellowjackets received the academic honor for the first time in their career, including seniors Talon Derrick, Michael Gahan, Tristan Shockley, and Corbin Smith.
Derrick has been a key reliever this season, with a 4.58 ERA in 17 2/3 innings pitched over a dozen stints out of the bullpen. Derrick is a psychology major and has a 3.22 GPA. Gahan, who is set to make his final career home start on Friday, carries a 3.70 GPA while studying marketing at MSUB. The right-hander has appeared in seven games this season and has a 5.04 ERA in 25.0 innings pitched.
Shockley is coming off a key pitching performance in Thursday’s Game 2 win over Central Washington, which marked his 16th appearance of the season. The righty has eaten up 42.0 innings and has an ERA of 4.07 to rank fourth on the pitching staff. Shockley will graduate this spring with a degree in health and human performance, where he is a 3.74 student.
Smith has also battled injury this season, appearing in four games on the mound for the ‘Jackets. The Boise, Idaho, native has a 3.56 GPA while studying environmental science.
Other first-time selections for the ‘Jackets included juniors Conner Linebarger and Landon Peterson, and sophomores Sam Muskat and Jake Tallman.
One of the team’s leading hitters, Linebarger is batting .311 with six home runs and 39 RBIs this spring. The second baseman, who has started 43 games, has a 3.56 GPA and is working towards his degree in finance.
Peterson is in his third season on the field as a catcher, and has seen action in 16 games while batting at .265. The Boise, Idaho, native carries a 3.32 GPA while studying history.
Muskat is a key lefty out of the bullpen for MSUB, appearing in 14 games and tossing 33 2/3 innings with 23 strikeouts. A native of Beaverton, Ore., Muskat has a 3.93 GPA while studying political science.
A local infielder, Tallman has seen action in 15 games and has also made an appearance on the mound for MSUB in the 2018 season. He has a 3.43 GPA and is a healthcare administration major.
To be eligible for academic all-conference, players must be in at least their second year of competition at their university, and carry a cumulative GPA of 3.20 or higher.