March 18, 2011
Box Score |
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The conference-opening game between the UNLV Rebels and 9th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs lived up to the hype, featuring a pitcher’s duel that ended abruptly by one of the Mountain West Conference’s biggest power threats as the Rebels took game one of the weekend series by a 5-4 count at Wilson Stadium.
Sophomore preseason All-MWC selection Brandon Bayardi has homered eight times this season, including two Friday night, but none bigger than his ninth-inning walk off that propelled UNLV (17-4, 1-0 MWC) to its sixth win in its last seven games and second straight over a ranked opponent.
Tanner Peters (4-0) scattered seven hits over 7.2 innings on the hill and surrendered his first earned runs of the season in the no decision. Peters threw a season-high 122 pitches, including 82 for strikes and tied a career-high in strikeouts with 11 while not issuing a walk on the night. His counterpart, Kyle Winkler, suffered his first loss of the year after giving up eight hits and five runs in 8.0 innings. Winkler also struck out 11 batters and walked just one.
TCU (10-7, 0-1 MWC) struck early, with Brance Rivera leading off the game with a solo home run to left center. Jantzen Witte doubled and eventually scored on Jason Coats’ fielder’s choice to make it 2-0 in favor of the Horned Frogs.
Peters calmed down following a shaky first, yielding just three hits while striking out nine over the ensuing five innings. Between the third and fifth innings, Peters struck out seven of the 10 batters he faced.
Winkler kept the Rebels bats in check over the first three innings, not allowing a hit while striking out six along the way. Hunter Beaty doubled down the right-field line to lead off the fourth and advanced to third on Trevor Kirk’s groundout before scoring on a wild pitch. After Winkler struck out Trent Cook for the second out of the inning, Rance Roundy singled to center and Bayardi sent an 0-1 offering over the wall in left center to give UNLV its first lead of the game at 3-2.
Ryan Scott singled to open the Rebel fifth and scored on Cash Thomas’ infield base hit to extend the lead to 4-2.
TCU cut the lead to one at 4-3 in the eighth and knotted the game at 4-4 in the top of the ninth, taking advantage of two Rebel fielding errors. Zack Hartman (2-0) was able to limit the damage to one run in the ninth. Hartman threw didn’t allow a hit over 1.1 innings of work and struck out two in the process.
Bayardi stepped up to the plate to lead off the ninth and lifted the Rebels to the win following his heroic walk-off homer to left.
The Rebels and Horned Frogs will pick up action tomorrow with game two of its weekend series. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m. at Wilson Stadium.