Rebels Fend Off Pesky 'Eaters For Midweek Win|
May 3, 2016
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV baseball team (20-24 overall) claimed an 8-6 victory over the UC Irvine Anteaters (25-17) at Earl E. Wilson Stadium Tuesday afternoon. The Rebels pushed out to a six-run lead, 8-2, through seven innings, but had to stave off a comeback bid by the Anteaters in the final two innings of play.
The Scarlet & Gray was paced by Justin Jones' perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate. The Rebel junior had two doubles, one home run and one single, and those produced three RBI and one run. His teammate Austin Anderson also registered three RBI on the day, as the trio was off one swing of the bat -- a fourth-inning, three-run home run.
The Rebels got one run apiece from their No. 1-8 batters while seven of those had at least one hit. In all, three members of the team had multiple-hit efforts, as A.J. VanMeetren (two hits) and Payton Squier (two) joined Jones in accomplishing that feat.
"Obviously, I'm very glad to hang on for the win," said head coach Stan Stolte. "UC Irvine always makes you work for the full 27 outs. They are such a good operation. We have to come out of the bullpen pounding the zone. Cody Roper was lights out and carried us for seven-plus innings. The big fourth inning was huge, and Jones had a great day for us. The game should not have come down to the wire the way it did. The bullpen needs to step up although (Blaze) Bohall did get the out we needed which was great to see."
After the contest began with three scoreless innings, the teams combined to tally nine runs in fourth. UCI was able to push two across in the top half of the inning off a two-run single by Grant Palmer. UNLV countered with seven runs off of seven hits and help from an `Eater defensive error.
The Rebels got their half of the fourth started with hits by Jones (single) and Corey Pool (double); however a fielder's choice ground ball put in play by Cooper Esmay resulted in an out at the plate. Esmay managed to take second when Jones was caught in the rundown and Pool made his way to third. Anderson then stepped up and delivered a deep fly to left field that carried over the fence.
The homer spelled the end of Shaun Vetrovec's (2-4) day on the mound for UCI, as they turned to Jordan Bocko in relief. The new hurler was able to get a quick out -- the second of the inning; however, UNLV managed to send six more batters to the plate. Kyle Isbel, VanMeetren and Squier connected on three straight singles, the last of which was responsible for a run. Andrew Yazdanbakhsh followed those three hits with a dribbler to the `Eaters shortstop that was misplayed and allowed VanMeetren to score. Jones, who led off the frame with a drag-bunt single, delivered a two-run double to the gap in right-center field to cap the seven-run stanza.
The offenses went dormant in the fifth and sixth innings, but Jones woke the Rebels up with a solo dinger to right field.
Unfortunately, UCI's bats awoke, too, as they were able to produce four runs off of five hits in the eighth. The `Eaters got a pair of singles to open up the inning until it appeared Roper (2-1) was about to get out of the threat with two quick outs. Roper wound up uncorking a wild pitch to allow both runners to move into scoring position, and then he gave up a two-run double to Keston Hiura. Larry Quaney was summoned from the bullpen in relief of Roper, but he surrendered a pair of run-scoring hits before he hit the third and final batter he faced. Moments after Corey Wilson walked his first and only batter, Blaze Bohall took to the mound and got the Rebels out of the frame with a strikeout.
UCI added some unwanted drama in the ninth when it got two on after the first out had been recorded and then loaded them up with two outs. With the bases loaded, Bohall got the sixth batter of the stanza to ground out to Jones to end the contest.
For the game, UCI left eight runners stranded with six of those coming in the eighth and ninth innings. UNLV, on the other hand, stranded five, all of which were between the second and fourth.
Roper picked up the win in 7.2 innings of work. He allowed five runs off of seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Neither Quaney nor Wilson retired a batter, so Bohall threw the last 1.1 frames to preserve the win and pick up his first save of the season. He fanned three against one hit and one walk.
Vetrovec was saddled with the loss for UCI, as he only lasted 3.1 innings. He was roughed up for three runs off of seven hits. Bocko was tagged for four runs, only one of which was earned, off of four hits. The final three `Eater relievers combined to pitch four innings with one run scored on them.
The Scarlet & Gray remain in Las Vegas to continue its lengthy homestand with a visit from the New Mexico Lobos this upcoming weekend. The three-game, Mountain West series begins Friday night at 6:05 pm. Games two and three will take place Saturday (2:05 pm) and Sunday (12:05 pm), respectively.
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NOTES: UNLV pulled its record even at 5-5 in 2-run games ... UNLV improved to 8-7 when its offense scores between 6-8 runs and 5-10 when its defense allows the opposition to score between 6-9 runs ... UNLV improved to 2-0 went its offense hits two or more home runs in a game ... UNLV improved to 7-3 when its defense does not commit an error ... UNLV improved to 12-4 when its offense outhits the opposition.