Rebels Win In Balk-Off Fashion|
Feb. 18, 2018
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV baseball team overcame five- and three-run deficits to defeat the Loyola Marymount Lions, 11-10 in 10 innings, Sunday night in the finale of the Marucci Desert Classic at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. The Rebels won the contest when Dillon Johnson was awarded home plate after Lions' reliever Codie Paiva (0-1) was deemed to have committed a balk with the bases loaded.
By virtue of the win, the Scarlet & Gray remained perfect to start the year at 3-0. The Los Angeles squad, on the other hand, continues to look for its first victory of the season after it lost all three contests this weekend.
The two teams combined to push across 18 runs in four innings of play; however, the scoring came to a near standstill when only three runs scored from the fifth through the 10th.
LMU opened with five runs in the first, but UNLV countered with six of its own over the second and third innings. The Lions answered back with four in the fourth only to see the Rebels score three to even things at 9-all. UNLV pushed back ahead with a run in the fifth, but LMU found the equalizer in the seventh. After a scoreless eighth and ninth, the Rebels ended things in the 10th.
UNLV's 3-7 hitters produced 12 of the team's 15 hits, nine of 11 runs and eight of 10 credited RBI. Nick Rodriguez and Grant Robbins had three hits apiece, while Nick Ames, Kyle Isbel and Max Smith had to each. Ames and Rodriguez knocked in four and three RBI, respectively, and each scored three runs. Isbel added two runs, too.
Bryan Menendez moved to 2-0 early on the year after he tossed two scoreless innings of relief for the second time this season. Against LMU, as he retired all six batters he faced -- two of which via strikeout.
THE TURNING POINT: Moments after it left the bases loaded in the ninth inning, UNLV was able to revive its offense in the 10th en route to the 11-10 victory. Dillon Johnson, who had the game-winning bunt single Friday and had a game-tying sac fly Saturday, led off the stanza with a double down the right-field line and then made his way to third off Kyle Isbel's sacrifice bunt. LMU decided to intentionally walk Rodriguez and Ames, but the tactics were all for naught as the game ended with a balk call.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Ames went 2-for-4 with four RBI and three runs. Both of his hits cleared the Wilson Stadium fence and brought in two RBI apiece. His first home run came in the second inning, while his second knotted the score at 9-all in the fourth.
STAT OF THE GAME: Ames and Rodriguez combined to produce seven RBI and six runs off a 5-for-9 day at the plate. Three of their hits were of the bases-clearing variety and resulted in two runs apiece.
QUOTABLE: "What a hard-fought game by both teams," said head coach Stan Stolte. "It was unfortunate the players didn't get the final say although I felt very confident Max (Smith) was going to get it done! Both bullpens battled in miserable conditions and went toe-to-toe. Once again, we showed some toughness coming back from deficits a couple times. I love the way the kids are playing their hearts out. We have a big one tomorrow against a good Indiana State team."
MARUCCI DESERT CLASSIC FINAL: UNLV concluded the three-day tournament with a perfect 3-0 mark, while UO finished second at 2-1. ISU (2-1) and LMU (0-3) rounded out third and fourth, respectively. Earlier Sunday, UO defeated ISU 8-5.
UP NEXT: UNLV returns to Earl E. Wilson Stadium for a 12:05 pm matinee against ISU. The Rebels will remain home following Monday's contest with a four-game set against Columbia, which begins Friday night at 6:05 pm.
SEASON TICKETS: UNLV still has 27 home games remaining to be played at Earl E. Wilson Stadium and fans can purchase their 2018 Rebel baseball season tickets online at UNLVTickets.com or by calling 702-739-FANS (3267). Season tickets are $90 for adults (13 and older), while seniors (62-plus), faculty and staff, and alumni are $75.
SINGLE-GAME TICKETS: Fans can purchase single-game tickets online and in-advance for only $5; however, they must be purchased through UNLVTickets.com three hours prior to first pitch. Single-game tickets are priced at $8 for adults, $6 for senior/faculty/staff and $4 for groups of 15 or more. As always, UNLV students (with Rebel Card) and kids 12 and under are always free.