(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – After earning Great Northwest Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week on Monday, Montana State University Billings baseball freshman right-handed pitcher Brooks Zimmer has been named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association West Region Pitcher of the Week announced on Wednesday.
The true freshman right-hander helped the Yellowjackets (7-13, 7-5 GNAC) to a 3-1 series win over Central Washington University and pitched in all three victories. “It is great for Brooks to be recognized in our region for his weekend performance,” said MSUB head coach Aaron Sutton. “He got some crucial outs for us and showed what he is capable of doing.”
Zimmer’s weekend started on Saturday, when he took the ball in the top of the sixth inning and the ‘Jackets leading the Wildcats 9-8. After giving up a leadoff single, Zimmer retired the next six batters he faced including four strikeouts to lock down the two-inning save.
Zimmer started off the eighth inning in Game 1 on Sunday, with the ‘Jackets holding on to a 5-3 lead. He issued just one baserunner on a walk, but once again closed the door to earn his second straight six-out save.
He was summoned a second time on Sunday, with the ‘Jackets clinging to a 2-1 lead with two outs in the top of the seventh inning in Game 2. The freshman showed the slightest hint of fatigue with a pair of walks, but then struck out the Wildcats’ Justin Hampson to end the game and seal the series victory for the ‘Jackets.
With his final save of the weekend, Zimmer became the first player in MSUB history to notch three saves in a single four-game series. The feat has only been achieved four times in GNAC history, with the last to do it being Kody Stone of Western Oregon on March 23-24, 2013.
Among the four players to achieve the feat, Zimmer threw the most innings (4.1) and racked up the most strikeouts (6). Although McDonald’s and Wilson’s teams each won their series 4-0, neither pitcher had a fourth save opportunity as no player in conference history has saved four games in a weekend.
Also of note was a three-save week for Brad Foss of Northwest Nazarene, who notched two saves on Tuesday, March 5, 2002 against Eastern Oregon and added another on Friday, March 8, 2002 in a win over Albertson.
Zimmer’s big effort helped the Yellowjackets jump the Wildcats and move into second place in the GNAC standings. The freshman now has four saves on the season, with 14 strikeouts in 14.0 innings pitched and a 3.21 earned run average over the course of seven appearances. Zimmer is now just three saves away from tying the modest MSUB single-season record of seven, held by Brian Howe (2011).
This marks the second regional player of the week for MSUB this season, after Daniel Cipriano earned the award on March 5.
MSUB plays at Saint Martin’s University this weekend with a four-game series scheduled for Saturday and Sunday in Lacey, Washington. Live video with play-by-play commentary and live statistics will be available for all four games through the MSUB Stretch Internet portal online here.