Feb. 18, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The UNLV baseball team picked up its first win of the season in dramatic fashion, knocking off Loyola Marymount, 6-1, here today at George C. Page Stadium.
The win marked second-year head coach Tim Chambers’ 500th career victory and moved UNLV to 1-1 on the year. Freshman Zak Qualls took a no-hitter into the seventh, retiring 18 consecutive batters at one point before yielding a two-out ground-rule double in the bottom of the frame. Qualls (1-0) struck out five and walked just one in his first collegiate start.
“It was a tremendous game today,” said Chambers. “Zak Qualls pitched like a veteran out there and the offense rallied to give him some support, a total team effort by the guys, it was great to watch it happen. Getting 500 is a great accomplishment, but you can’t get there without having great players, and I’ve been very fortunate over the years to have a lot of those kind of guys. All those wins aren’t just mine, they belong to everyone that has been with me over the years, players and coaches.”
Trevor Kirk led off the game with a single up the middle and scored one batter later when Trent Cook doubled to right center, giving UNLV the early 1-0 lead.
Loyola Marymount (1-1) answered in the bottom half of the first with Joey Boney scoring on Nick Devian’s groundout to third. Boney reached on a Danny Higa error and made his way to third following a hit batter and double steal by the Lions.
Following the first inning scoring, both starting pitchers settled down and showed control, with LMU righty Trevor Megill allowing just three hits while striking out seven and Qualls holding the Lions hitless.
UNLV regained the lead in the top of the sixth thanks in part to a two-out fielding error by center fielder Nick Truhan. Truhan dropped Cook’s fly ball and the Lions paid for it one batter later when Brandon Bayardi doubled down the left-field line, allowing Cook to score the go-ahead run.
Another two-out mistake by LMU proved costly the next inning as Bayardi jacked his first homer of the year, launching a 2-1 pitch off Matt Florer over the blue monster in left field, extending the Rebel lead to 6-1.
Junior Mark Shannon had entered in relief of Qualls in the seventh and kept the one-hitter in tact for UNLV, facing just eight batters and needing just 26 pitches in 2.1 innings with one strikeout and no walks.
The two teams will settle the series tomorrow afternoon at George C. Page Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. in the series finale.