Rebels' Rally Comes Up Short
Feb. 2, 2007
LAS VEGAS - UNLV baseball battled with No. 19 Pepperdine and staged a late rally, but the Rebels fell short and lost 4-3 in their home opener on a cool Friday night in front of 624 fans at Earl E. Wilson Stadium.
The Rebels had the game-tying run on in the bottom of the ninth inning but Pepperdine reliever Brett Hunter struck out UNLV first baseman Efren Navarro Jr. looking to end the game.
UNLV was held to six hits and fell to 1-3 on the season with starter Craig Heyer (1-1) taking the loss, giving up four earned runs on seven hits over 5.2 innings of work. Pepperdine (1-0) picked up its first win of the year with starter Barry Enright (1-0) getting the decision as he tossed seven innings, giving up just one unearned run to go with five strikeouts.
Heyer grinded on the mound, allowing just one run in the first despite two Wave triples and then getting out of a bases-loaded jam and not allowing a run in the second frame. He would settle down and retired the Waves in order in the third and fourth innings before running into trouble in the fifth. He gave up three runs in the frame, the big blow a two-run double by Eric Thames that pushed the lead to 4-0.
Enright was just as solid on the mound, facing the minimum through four innings before allowing a run in the fifth after Navarro Jr. hit a double to center and then later scored on a throwing error. That broke up the shut out although it would be the only threat of the evening against Enright.
Once Enright left the game, the Rebels instantly staged a rally started by a single by Navarro Jr. and then a walk by Braden Walker, bringing sophomore catcher Michael Brenly to the plate. Brenly drilled an offering from Hunter to the center-field wall, scoring two and cutting the lead to one at 4-3. Hunter struck out Rance Roundy and Calvin Beamon and then got Ryan Kowalski to ground out to second to end the rally and get out of the eighth with the lead.
In the ninth Chad Miller hit a soft single to right field with two out, bringing Navarro Jr. to the plate, who at that point was 2-3 in the game with a pair of runs scored. Hunter though got the key strike out to end the game and earn the save.
UNLV and Pepperdine resume their three-game series Saturday, with the first pitch slated for 2:00 p.m. (PT) at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. Rebel freshman Matt Hutchison (0-1) will take the mound against Waves pitcher Jason Dominguez.