Rebels Strong In Season Debut, Defeat Omaha 20-3|
Feb. 17, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The Rebel baseball team opened the 2017 season in grand fashion with a 20-3 victory over the Omaha Mavericks in the UNLV Classic Friday evening at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. UNLV overwhelmed the Mavericks early with an offensive onslaught that featured 10 runs off of nine hits through the first two innings. In all, the Scarlet & Gray scattered 21 hits that, in turn, produced 20 runs -- 19 of which were batted in.
Seven players recorded multiple-hit outings to pace the Rebel offense. Payton Squier led the hitting barrage with four hits while Justin Jones and Ernie De La Trinidad had three each. Keyon Allen, Nick Ames, Kyle Isbel and Bryson Stott rounded out those with two-plus hits.
Jones did the most damage to the Mavericks with two of his base knocks going over the fence and resulting in seven of his career- and game-high eight RBI. He walked in a run in the opening frame for his first RBI. In the second, he cranked a three-run shot over the right-field fence for a home run. He upped the feat in the sixth with a grand slam that soared to deep center field. He added a single in the fourth that eventually led to another Rebel score.
In addition to Jones' eight RBI, Isbel and Squier had three RBI apiece.
Just as the Rebel offense dazzled in the batter's box, Alan Strong did so on the mound. The junior transfer from Grossmont College struck out 11 in 5.0 innings of work en route to his first career win at the NCAA Division I level. He owned a stretch that saw him strikeout seven of eight batters, including five in a row. Strong tossed 5.0 innings and allowed two runs off of four hits.
Overall, the Rebel pitching staff combined for 17 strikeouts. Corey Wilson (two strikeouts), Jake Lewis (one), Christian Myers (two) and Connor Clark (one) all tossed 1.0 inning in relief. The foursome only allowed one run off of three hits.
"Things kind of snowballed our way the first couple of innings and it was too much too early for Omaha to overcome," said head coach Stan Stolte. "I was happy with some of the quality at-bats we took, and Alan did what you're supposed to do when you get spotted a big lead. He just went at them aggressively and didn't let them get off the mat. Justin also did a great job with his at-bats, which was great to see."
Moments after the Mavericks threatened in the first inning only to leave the bases loaded, the Rebels countered and showed the visitors from the Cornhusker State how to capitalize with runners in scoring position. With the bags juiced in the bottom of the first, Ames hit a chopper to first that resulted in the game's first run. Two batters later, Jones was walked by Sam Murphy (0-1) for another tally.
The Rebel lead grew to 10 with an eight-run, seven-hit second inning. Allen and Stott got the outburst started by reaching via a dropped fly ball and a walk. Squier, Rodriguez and Ames followed, in succession, and knocked in one run apiece to up the lead to 5-0. Right after a single by De La Trinidad, Jones delivered the first of his two home runs. Austin Anderson, Allen and Isbel kept the inning going with a trio of hits that produced two more scores.
The lead ballooned to 13 in the fourth when Isbel and Squier combined for three more runs off a pair of singles. An error in fifth extended the distance between the two teams to 14 in the fifth.
Omaha finally broke through offensively in the fifth when it got a double and a single from its first two batters. The Rebels then went to the bullpen and summoned Wilson, who gave up an RBI single to the first batter he faced. The Mavericks were able to score once more in the frame off another single.
The score differential ballooned to 18 runs at the end of the sixth after Squier and De La Trinidad added RBI singles and Jones' grand slam.
The Mavericks were the last to put one on the `board, as a groundout with the bases loaded gave them three for the game.
The Rebels return to Wilson Stadium Saturday for a 6:05 pm affair with the Saint Mary's Gaels (1-0). The UC Davis Aggies (0-1) and Omaha will get the day started at 2:05 pm. Prior to the UNLV-Omaha game, SMC defeated UCD, 6-4, to open the UNLV Classic.
NOTES: UNLV's 20 runs were the most since the 2013 edition scored 24 against UC Riverside (April 16) ... UNLV's 21 his were the most since the 2014 edition scattered 21 against New Mexico (April 27) ... UNLV's 19 RBI were the most since the 2013 edition plated 23 against UC Riverside (April 16) ... UNLV's 17 strikeouts were the most since the 2013 edition's pitching staff recorded against San Diego State (April 19) ... Jones' two home runs were the most by a Rebel since Cooper Esmay hit two against Nevada, Reno last year (May 21, 2016) ... Jones' eight RBI were the most by a Rebel since Xavier Scruggs knocked in eight vs. San Diego State in 2008 (April 19) ... Strong's 11 strikeouts were the most since John Richy's 12 vs. Fresno State (May 22, 2014).