Rebels Smack Anteaters
March 27, 2007
LAS VEGAS - UNLV baseball scored eight runs over the final two innings to come from behind and beat No. 24 UC Irvine 11-6 on a windy Tuesday night at Earl E. Wilson Stadium, where the ball was flying out of right field.
Senior outfielder Ryan Kowalski hit a three-run home run in the seventh, his first of the season, that gave UNLV its first lead and then Xavier Scruggs hit a three-run shot of his own in the eighth. Both round trippers capped four-run innings for the Rebels, which moved to 12-19 on the year with Michael Goodman earning his first win of the season in relief. UCI had its seven-game winning streak and dropped to 19-6-1 with Dylan Axelrod (1-2) charged with the loss out of the bullpen.
Tonight's meeting was the 13th game against a ranked team that the Rebels have played at Earl E. Wilson Stadium and UNLV is now 6-7 in those contests.
In the game-changing seventh UNLV took advantage of three UCI errors, two of those coming with two outs in the frame, to score four runs and turn a two-run deficit into a 7-5 lead. The Rebels got their first run on an error and then after the third UCI error put two runners on, Kowalski cleared the bases with a wind-carried shot to right.
UNLV fell behind in the fourth when the Anteaters put a four-spot on the scoreboard on home runs by Jeff Cusick and Cody Cipriano off of starter Blake Gailen to open the scoring. Cusick hit a solo home run to open the inning and then following a pair of singles, Cipriano hit a three-run home run to give the Anteaters a 4-0 advantage. Both home runs were hit to right field as a steady wind was blowing from left to right the entire game.
UCI tacked on another run in the top of the fifth before the Rebels broke through in the bottom half of the inning with a pair of runs of their own.
UNLV junior Willie Bowman and Calvin Beamon each singled with one out and then Gailen hit a sharp grounder to third that UCI tried turning into a double play but Cipriano threw it low to first, allowing Bowman to score. Keith Smith then hit a sharp single to right which scored Gailen, who had moved to second on the errant throw to make the score 5-2.
In the bottom of the sixth Michael Brenly drew a one-out walk and then scored following singles by Kowalski and Braden Walker off of Axelrod that made it 5-3. UNLV could not capitalize with runners on base however, as Bowman struck out and then Beamon grounded to first to end the threat.
UNLV would get to Axelrod in the seventh inning thanks in large part to the three errors by the Anteaters, which finished the game with four to go with eight hits. The Rebels pounded out 12 hits of their own and committed two errors.
Kowalski finished the game going 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored while Scruggs scored twice to go with his three-run home run. Walker and Bowman added two hits as well for the Rebel offensive attack. UCI shortstop Ben Orloff went 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
UNLV will now head out on the road for a six-game trip, beginning this Friday in Salt Lake City against the University of Utah, with the first pitch slated for 1:00 pm (PT) at Franklin Covey Stadium.