(Editor’s note: MSUB Athletics release)
PORTLAND, Ore. – Leading the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with 11 hits last week, Montana State University Billings baseball senior centerfielder Jalen Garcia was named the Player of the Week announced by the conference office Monday.
He is the ninth different Yellowjacket to earn the weekly honor from the conference this year, and this is the eighth week in-a-row that an MSUB player has either won the Player or Pitcher of the Week award. “Jalen had an impactful weekend at the plate,” commented MSUB head coach Aaron Sutton. “He had a really solid approach, and found a lot of barrels. He is the type of player who can change a game in multiple ways. He is proud to represent the club in the conference this weekend.”
Garcia hit .579 (11-for-19) with a double, two triples, four RBIs, and five runs scored. He went 7-for-10 in Friday’s doubleheader, and overall helped the Yellowjackets stay in first place in the GNAC by taking 3 of 4 games at home against Northwest Nazarene University.
Garcia slugged .842 on the weekend, made 11 catches in center, and stole his team-leading 12th base of the season.
Overall in 2019 Garcia is batting .364 with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs, and 22 RBIs. He is reaching base at a clip of .410, is slugging .607, and he ranks second in the conference with 51 total hits.
Garcia also made strides up the MSUB and GNAC career stats with his big weekend, raising his career batting average 10 points up to .348 which is No. 2 in MSUB history. In just three seasons, Garcia has racked up 170 total hits as he moved to No. 4 in school history past Colby Robison over the weekend. Garcia’s 11 career triples are one shy of Luke Reinschmidt’s MSUB career record of 12, and are three shy of Joey Price’s GNAC record of 14 (Western Oregon, 1999-2002). Garcia also jumped into a tie for No. 3 on the MSUB career list with 111 RBIs, matching Robison’s total from 2011-13. The Billings native had his 11th career sacrifice fly to move within two of Brody Miller’s MSUB record of 13, and added to his MSUB career steals record with the 46th of his tenure as a ‘Jacket.
Garcia was named the GNAC Player of the Week as a sophomore for May 1-7, 2017, and as a junior from March 12-18, 2018.
MSUB (22-18, 22-10 GNAC) is in first place in the GNAC standings with eight games remaining on the regular-season schedule. The Yellowjackets are on the road this week, with doubleheaders at Central Washington University at noon Pacific/1 p.m. Mountain on Friday and 11 a.m. Pacific/noon Mountain on Saturday in Ellensburg, 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.
NOTABLE: MSUB’s nine total GNAC weekly awards are the most ever by the baseball team during a single season. It is the seventh time in the history of the GNAC that a baseball team has had nine different individuals receive a weekly honor during the course of a single season. Western Oregon University holds the record with 10 Player of the Week awards, achieved during the 2002 and 2007 seasons. WOU recorded nine selections in 2011, 2006, and 2005, the middle year including a Player of the Week nod for Wolves alumnus Coach Sutton on April 3-9, 2006. The only other GNAC team to have nine different players recognized in one season is Central Washington University, which did it during the 2013 season. It is only the third time it has been achieved since the conference expanded to five teams in 2008, and it is the first time a team has done it since Concordia University made the GNAC a six-team league in 2016.
MSUB’s string of eight consecutive weeks with a GNAC Player or Pitcher of the Week began on March 4 with Daniel Cipriano. Since then, Dylan Barkley, Brooks Zimmer, and Jarrod Molnaa have been named Pitcher of the Week, and Conner Linebarger, Landon Peterson, Andrew Schleusner, Wyatt Setian, and Garcia have been named Player of the Week. It is tied for the longest streak in GNAC history, matching Western Oregon’s run of eight straight weeks from March 21-May 15, 2005.