Rebels Win With 10th Inning Walk-Off Home Run
March 3, 2014
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - Junior Johnathan Torres now officially has a walk-off home run on his collegiate resume as he powered UNLV baseball (8-3, 3-0 Mountain West) to a 5-4 extra innings win over UC Riverside (6-6) on Monday.
Last fall, the junior college transfer was in similar spot against a different Big West Conference team. He took a first pitch ball against Cal State Fullerton and then launched the second pitch he saw over the right field wall to propel the Rebels past the Titans in the bottom of the ninth inning. Since it was an exhibition game, the stats did not count, but it proved to be great practice.
On Monday night, he let the first pitch go for a called ball in the bottom of the tenth inning and then drilled his only hit of the game over the Capriotti's ad in right field. His first "official" walk-off homer against the Highlanders is also the first of his career at UNLV and is the reason the Rebels are still undefeated at Earl E. Wilson Stadium this season.
"Their pitcher was throwing us off speed stuff and I really like hitting sliders," Torres said. "I was looking for something to drive to right field and I got that inside pitch and hit a nice line drive over the wall."
It was a great ending to a night where the momentum shifted back and forth between UCR and UNLV.
UNLV would add another run in the bottom of the fifth inning before UCR rallied and tied the game in the top of the sixth.
The Rebels recaptured the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Patrick Armstrong hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring White from third. They would add one more run in the bottom of the seventh after White singled to left field, scoring Joey Armstrong, to give UNLV a 4-2 lead.
The Highlanders rallied, scoring runs in the top of the eighth and ninth innings and retired the Rebels in order in the bottom of the ninth to force an extra frame.
UNLV had to hold off the UCR rally in the tenth, as the Highlanders recorded two hits and got runners on the corners before Joey Lauria (1-0) was able to get the Highlanders' best power threat, Nick Vilter, to strike out and then induced a pop fly to end the inning.
"We pitched pretty well tonight but we need to play better defensively," head coach Tim Chambers said. "We also need to have better at bats, but at the end of the day our kids found a way to win and that is huge for us."
Kenny Oakley got the start for the Rebels and did not allow a run on five hits and struck out six in 5.0 innings of work. Cody Roper and Brayden Torres each pitched in relief before Joey Lauria enter the game in the 10th inning and allowed no runs on two hits and recorded a strikeout to earn the win.
Justin Jones (2-for-5), Erik VanMeetren (2-for-4) and A.J. Hernandez (2-for-4) all had multiple hits in the game. As a team the Rebels tallied 10 total hits as the Highlanders recorded 14, but UCR left 17 runners on base, while UNLV left 10.
The Rebels will now resume Mountain West play at New Mexico for a three-game series starting on Friday. UNLV will play its next game at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on March 11 against Big 12 opponent West Virginia at 6:05 p.m. PT.