Rebels Chip Away, But Fall Short
March 14, 2004
LAS VEGAS - UNLV dug its self into a hole that it couldn't quite get out of, as the Rebels gave up 13 runs in the first two innings in a 16-10 loss to the the Chippewas of Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon.
UNLV starter Matt Luca just didn't have the stuff, as he gave up nine earned runs off of five hits while walking five in just one inning on the mound. Reliever Kevin Skogley didn't have much more success, giving up four runs off of three hits in just two-thirds of an inning, as the Chippewas jumped out to a quick 13-0 lead.
The Rebels answered back in the bottom of the second as senior right fielder Eric Nielsen scored on a fielder's choice ball hit by left fielder Andrew D'Angelo. Center fielder Brent Johnson's single through the right side allowed D'Angelo to score and brought the score to 13-2.
UNLV tacked on another run in the bottom of the third, as Nielsen drove a home run off of the scoreboard in left field, his second of the year. The bottom of the fourth saw UNLV's most productive inning, as the Rebels added three more runs on back-to-back doubles by second baseman Ryan Ruiz and catcher Justin Tellam. Ruiz drove in two more runs in the bottom of the fifth as he tripled down the right side, pulling the Rebels to within five at 13-8.
The Chippewas pulled away in the top of the ninth, picking up two runs off of UNLV closer Matt Minor, clinching the 16-10 victory.
Freshman reliever Koji Pupo was the lone bright spot for the UNLV pitching staff, as he pitched five and one-third scoreless innings for the Rebels, giving up just three hits while striking out five and walking none.
For the Chippewas, first baseman Kurtis Wells was 2-for-4 with 5 RBI and second baseman David Latour finished 2-for-3 with 4 RBI.
Luca (3-1) was charged with the loss, while Central Michigan's Mike Kirschenheiter (1-0) picked up the win in relief.
With the loss, the Rebels fall to 12-7 on the season while Central Michigan improves to 4-7. UNLV will be back in action next weekend as they open Mountain West Conference play at BYU.