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MSU Billings baseball, softball teams combine for 15 GNAC academic awards

Posted at 11:37 AM, May 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-01 17:13:12-04
(MSUB Athletics photo)

(Editor’s note: MSUB Athletics release)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Nine players from the Montana State University Billings baseball team were named academic all-Great Northwest Athletic Conference for the 2019 season announced by the conference office Tuesday.

“Our program is very proud to have these young men represent our school on this list,” said MSUB head coach Aaron Sutton. “It is a true testament to each one of them for their work ethic and drive. They not only excel on the field, but in the classroom as well. This is a group of young men that takes pride in all that they do, and they are the true definition of student-athletes.”

To qualify for academic all-conference, individuals must carry a 3.20 cumulative GPA or higher, be in at least their second season at their university, and have competed during the course of the season.

Seniors Matt Dillon, Steen Fredrickson, and Jared Winslow led the Yellowjacket squad as three of just five players in the entire conference to earn academic honors for the third season in their careers.

Dillon is completing his degree in health administration, while holding a cumulative grade point average of 3.72. He is batting .294 this season, while ranking second on the team with 13 home runs and third on the squad with 33 RBIs.

Fredrickson holds a 3.80 GPA while finishing his degree in finance. One of the top pitchers in the GNAC, Fredrickson has a 4.12 earned run average with 71 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings pitched. He is No. 8 on the GNAC all-time strikeout list with 188 in his career.

Winslow has appeared in nine games this season, and has 20 strikeouts against just eight walks in 16 innings pitched while recording a pair of saves. He is finishing a degree in health and human performance with a 3.94 GPA.

Seniors Landon Peterson and Conner Linebarger, and junior Sam Muskat were MSUB’s other repeat selections, and the team’s six total repeat award winners were the most among any of the GNAC teams.

Peterson holds a 3.37 GPA and is pursuing his degree in history. Having the best season of his five-year career at MSUB, the catcher is batting .330 with four home runs, 24 RBIs, and an on-base percentage of .469.

Linebarger is wrapping up a degree in finance, and carries a 3.59 GPA. He is batting .290 on the season, and has played in 32 games while battling injuries throughout the year.

Muskat has the highest GPA on the team, with a 3.96 while triple-majoring in political science, Spanish, and sociology. Muskat has earned a pair of saves this season, while leading the team with 13 appearances out of the bullpen.

Seniors Chazz Ishikawa and Carson Woolery, and junior Josh Overstreet were MSUB’s three first-time selections to the academic all-conference team.

Ishikawa is a sociology major with a 3.20 GPA, and has seen time in 18 games this season. Woolery has pitched in five games and seven total innings, and has a 3.25 GPA while completing his degree in public relations. Overstreet carries a 3.43 GPA while studying history, and has pitched 8 2/3 innings over six appearances on the mound.

MSUB (26-18, 26-10 GNAC) is in first place in the GNAC with four games left in the 2019 regular season. The Yellowjackets play a four-game series at home this weekend against Concordia University, with doubleheaders set for 1 p.m. on Thursday and Friday at Dehler Park. Live video with play-by-play commentary and live statistics will be available through the MSUB Stretch Internet portal online here.

(MSUB Athletics photo)

Six players from the women’s softball team have also earned honors.

They include sophomore Georgiabelle Benning, senior Kelsee Bushell, senior Shayla Felix, sophomore Brittanee Fisher, sophomore Allie Hughes, junior Maddy Lincoln, and sophomore Sydney Norwood.

A total of 65 athletes in the GNAC were recognized for their achievements in the classroom and on the field. Central Washington University received the most award winners with 13, followed by Concordia University and Northwest Nazarene with nine apiece.

Benning (outfield, Payallup, Washington) made 25 appearances and had 18 starts in 2019. Benning hit .205 with nine hits, one triple, and nine runs batted in. She is majoring in health and human performance and held a sophomore GPA of 3.66.

Bushell (shortstop, Plain City, Utah) had a senior season shortened by injury but started 11 games for the ‘Jackets. She hit .167 with two doubles and two runs batted in and recorded a multi-hit game against Saint Martin’s on March 8. Bushell is set to graduate with a degree in business administration: marketing this spring with a 3.68 GPA.

Felix (catcher, Dewey, Arizona) continued as the ‘Jackets second catcher as a senior and saw action in 15 games with 13 starts behind the plate. She hit .194 with 36 at bats, five runs scored, four doubles, and six runs batted in. Felix was excellent in the field with a .974 fielding percentage, 34 putouts, and four assists. She plans to graduate with a degree in business administration: marketing.

Fisher (first base, Billings, Montana) started all 46 games this season after being named all-GNAC honorable mention her freshman year. She hit .268 with nine doubles, six home runs, and 22 runs batted in. Fisher ranked fifth on the team in batting average, second in runs batted in, and second in slugging percentage and played first base in every game. Fisher is continuing work on her area of study, health and human performance: teaching and holds a 3.77 sophomore GPA.

Hughes (outfield, Sparks, Nevada) improved from her freshman campaign to hit .288 in 2019 over 46 games. She had nine doubles, six home runs, and a team leading 23 runs batted in while slugging .520. Hughes currently has a 3.52 GPA in the field of health and human performance.

Lincoln (pitcher, Olympia, Washington) was a crucial piece of the Yellowjacket pitching staff in her junior year. She posted 24 appearances and 18 starts with a 4.79 earned run average and 4-14 record. Lincoln put up a team high 18 complete games and struck out 82 opposing hitters. Lincoln will go into her senior year in elementary education with a 3.46 GPA and becomes the only member of the current team to earn GNAC all-academic honors in two separate seasons.

Norwood (infield, Billings, Montana) made her first career appearance on the field last weekend against Simon Fraser where she reached base on a fielding error. Norwood is a magic city native and attended Billings Senior High School prior to joining MSUB. Norwood is working toward a degree in health and human performance with a 3.33 GPA.

The Yellowjackets finished the 2019 season last weekend at home with a four game sweep over Simon Fraser University. The team finished 15-31 overall, 8-20 in the conference for seventh place.

22 student-athletes are repeat selections to the softball all-academic team. Allyson Drury (Western Oregon) led this year’s selections with a 4.00 GPA in Biology as a sophomore.