March 26, 2004
LAS VEGAS - The UNLV baseball team (17-7, 4-0 MWC) used an eleven-run third inning as they routed the Air Force Academy (5-20, 0-4 MWC) 21-5 on Friday night.
The Rebels made it on to the scoreboard in the bottom of the second off of a sacrifice fly by freshman first baseman Chris Bonnell, but the offense really came alive in the bottom of the third as 11 Rebels crossed the plate. The inning saw 16 UNLV batters, 8 Rebel hits, and 6 different players drive in runs.
Senior second baseman Ryan Ruiz hit his fourth home run of the season in the fifth, a solo shot line drive shot the fence in left field.
Sophomore designated hitter C.J. Ebarb also took the ball deep, launching a solo shot over the right field fence.
Senior right fielder Eric Nielsen paced the Rebel offense, finishing the night 2-for-4 with 4 RBI and 2 runs scored. Center fielder Brent Johnson picked up three hits on the night, going 3-for-6 with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored.
Ruiz and right fielder Johnny Uriegas both finished the game with 3 RBI while left fielder Andrew D'Angelo, catcher Justin Tellam, third baseman Ty Soto and Ebarb each drove in two runs for the Rebels.
Starter Matt Luca (5-0) struck out a career-high 14 batters and didn't allow a Falcon hit until the sixth inning en route to his fifth victory of the season. Luca allowed just four runs off of six hits while walking only one during his seven innings on the mound.
The Rebel pitching staff tied an all-time record for strikeouts, as Luca's 14 and reliver Jason Guerra's 2 combined for a club-record 16 team srikeouts.
For the Falcon, catcher Jon Polston finished 2-for-3 with 2 RBI while starter Blake Nixon (0-5) was charged with the loss.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on KSHP AM 1400.