UNLV Upends Nevada, Reno
March 25, 2008
LAS VEGAS - Behind the sharp pitching of Corey Hales and timely hitting, UNLV baseball beat Nevada, Reno 9-4 at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on Tuesday in front of 459 fans.
The win ended the Rebels' eight-game losing streak to their rivals from the North and improved their record to 10-11 on the year. Hales, the first of six pitchers used in the game by UNLV, earned the win by tossing three dominating innings, striking out one and allowing no hits to improve to 4-1. With the loss, UNR dropped to 12-9 overall on the season, with starter Bryan Saurez being charged with the loss as he gave up two runs on five hits in two innings of work.
"That was a huge win for us," UNLV head coach Buddy Gouldsmith said. "It was important that we came out and played good baseball and execute tonight, and we did that."
It was the first win for UNLV over UNR since a 9-0 Rebel victory in Las Vegas on Feb. 21, 2004. With Hales setting the tone early though tonight, the Rebel offense made sure that the streak would end at eight.
UNLV doubled with one out in each of the first four innings, pushing single runs across the plate in the bottom of the first and second frames. Jesse Wight doubled in the first and later scored on Steve Rinaudo's single for a 1-0 Rebel lead. The lead grew to 2-0 when Ryan Thornton doubled down the left-field line and after moving up 90 feet on a balk, scored on a single by Anthony Morel.
The Rebels tacked on a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to expand the lead to four, as Xavier Scruggs hit a sacrifice fly and J.J. Sferra walked and later came around to score on a wild pitch.
UNR loaded the bases with one out in the top of the sixth inning, sandwiching two singles around a walk off of Thomas Whitsett, bringing Shaun Kort to the plate. UNLV went to the pen, calling on right-hander Stephen Singer to get the team out of the inning. He walked Cort to give the Wolf Pack their first run of the game but then struck out Terry Walsh for the second out of the inning before getting a ground out to end minimize the damage.
Following the seventh-inning stretch the Rebels blew the game wide open, capitalizing on a pair of UNR errors and three hits to score three runs for a 7-1 lead. The big hit in the rally was a two-run single by Braden Walker, his only hit of the game, but it was a big one.
With one out in the top of the eighth, UNR loaded the bases and Walsh cleared them with a double down the left-field line, cutting the Rebel lead in half. Following a ground out that moved Walsh to third, Troy Watson came out of the UNLV bullpen and got a fly out to deep center field to end the frame.
Scruggs drove in another run in the eighth, hitting an RBI single to center field that drove in Wight, who doubled with two outs to give the Rebels an insurance run. Scruggs would then steal second, move to third on an error and then score on a wild pitch, giving the Rebels a 9-4 lead heading into the final frame.
Scruggs finished the game going 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a double, one of five two-bag hits for the Rebels in the game. UNLV collected 12 hits in the game, doubling up UNR, who only had six.
UNLV remains at home and will resume Mountain West Conference play against TCU, the two-time defending regular season and tournament champions. The three-game series will begin on Friday at Earl E. Wilson Stadium, with the first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. (PDT). The weekend games will be Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m., and both of those contests will be carried live on 1400 KSHP AM. Fans can watch all three games online via a live streaming feed at www.unlvrebels.com as part of the All-Access feature on the website, or they can follow along live on Gametracker.