Rebels Win Sunday With Help Of Seven-Run Sixth Inning|
March 13, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV baseball team (7-7 overall) scored seven times in the sixth inning to push ahead for good in its 8-7 victory over the Ohio State Buckeyes (7-6-1) at Earl E. Wilson Stadium Sunday afternoon. The Rebels were paced by a season-high nine strikeout performance by Kenny Oakley and multiple-hit games from Cody Howard, Kyle Isbel and Justin Jones.
With the win, UNLV has been triumphant in five of its last six outings, two of which have occurred in a three-game span against the Buckeyes this weekend.
The Rebels opened the scoring in the first inning with help from a Buckeye fielding error. Isbel led off with a single and made his way to second and third after a groundout and a wild pitch, respectively. He wound up scoring when shortstop Nick Sergakis misplayed a grounder by Corey Pool.
Four innings later UNLV was hindered by a defensive miscue, of its own, that allowed a runner to reach and keep the fifth alive for the Buckeyes. After L Grant Davis reached on the error, Oakley (2-2) struck out his second batter of the frame only to give up a walk and a single to load the bases. Ronnie Dawson capitalized on the situation and laced the seventh pitch of his at-bat over the fence in right field for a grand slam.
Things turned around for the better in the sixth when the Rebels were able to score seven times off of five hits and two Buckeye errors. Payton Squier opened up the stanza with a single before Pool bounded a double down the third-base line. Jones started the scoring with two-run single to left-center, and in turn, ended John Havird's day on the mound.
OSU summoned Austin Woodby (2-1) from the bullpen; however, the reliever didn't fare so well either. Woodby immediately issued a free pass to Andrew Yazdanbakhsh before he and his third baseman, Brady Cherry, committed consecutive errors on a pair of sacrifice bunts by A.J. VanMeetren and Carlos Robles. Jones scored on the first error, while Yazdanbakhsh came home when Howard singled to center field to keep the rally alive.
Michael Horejsei was called upon by the Buckeyes to work out of the jam; however, the Rebels scored twice more off an RBI single by Austin Anderson and a groundout by Squier.
Moments after seeing the three-run lead turn into a four-run deficit, the Buckeyes smashed two straight home runs to pull within two in the seventh. Ryan Hare took over for Oakley, but three of the four batters he faced reached base safely, as Cherry and Dawson homered and Sergakis walked. Larry Quaney III managed to close out the seventh with two quick outs.
"I was glad to see how they responded to that debacle on Saturday," said head coach Stan Stolte. "We executed our short game offensively and our pitchers did their jobs against a very dangerous team. It was a good overall team win and, hopefully, it will carry over. Oakley pitched as well as last week (Sunday's complete game vs. San Jose State), while Quaney and Wright stepped up and got the job done."
The Buckeyes tried to pull even in the ninth, but they weren't able to record the equalizing run. They got back-to-back one-out doubles from Sergakis and Dawson to pull within one run, but Ben Wright halted any game-tying aspirations with a fly out and a grounder back to the mound for his third save of the week.
Oakley picked up the win in six innings of work. He allowed four runs (all unearned) off of five hits and a pair of walks.
UNLV relievers Hare and Quaney III combined to throw 2.1 frames, although they gave up three runs off of five hits. They struck out one apiece, while Hare walked one.
Havird lasted into the fifth and earned a no-decision despite giving up four runs (three earned). The Rebels tallied eight hits against him, but struck out four times.
Woodby (2-1) was not able to record an out and, ultimately, was tagged with the loss after he hounded for four runs (one earned) off of only one hit. Horejsei, Joe Stoll and Yianni Pavlopoulos, thew one inning of relief apiece for the Buckeyes.
UNLV and Ohio State close out their four-game series Tuesday evening at 6:05 pm. Tuesday's affair is billed as "$2 Tuesday" where fans can purchase tickets online and in-advance for $2 as well as get $2 hot dogs and $2 off beer.
NOTES: Squier extended his reached-base streak to 12 games with his sixth-inning single ... Squier has collected a hit in 12 of UNLV's 14 games this season ... UNLV improved to 4-0 in one-run games this season ... UNLV is 4-1 when it scores first and 2-1 when it scores in the first inning ... Sunday's win is the first for UNLV when it has scored six or more runs; it is 6-5 when it has scored five or less ... Sunday's win is the first for UNLV when it has allowed an opponent to score six or more runs; it is 6-0 when it has allowed five or less.