May 18, 2007
LAS VEGAS - UNLV baseball blew open a tight game with nine runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to go on to a 13-4 win over visiting Air Force in a Mountain West Conference game at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on Friday night.
Carrying a one-run lead into the seventh, the Rebels sent 13 batters to the plate for a rally that featured a three-run home run by Xavier Scruggs, turning the game into a rout in front of 310 fans. UNLV improved to 21-34 overall and 9-14 in league games with the victory while Air Force dropped to 8-43 and 0-22 in the MWC.
The game started out as a pitcher's duel, as both teams' starters were sharp early in tossing four innings of scoreless baseball.
In the bottom of the fifth the Rebels got to AFA starter Alex Truesdale for three runs to go out in front, with all the runs coming with two out in the inning. Braden Walker got the rally started by reaching on an error, Calvin Beamon singled to center and they both scored on a triple by Ryan Kowalski for a 2-0 lead. Keith Smith then hit a single through the left side of the infield to score Kowalski, moving the advantage to 3-0.
That would be enough for starter Kevin Skogley, who was nearly un-hittable early on in improving to 3-5 on the season. Through the first six innings Skogley allowed just two hits and struck out 10 before running into a little trouble in the top of the seventh.
Geno Salazar and Addison Gentry reached base to start the inning for the Falcons and then they moved to second and third on a long fly out. Tyler McBride then singled to right field to plate Salazar, making it a 3-1 ball game. Shea Hall followed with a single of his own that scored Gentry, making it a one-run game
That ended Skogley's evening, as head coach Buddy Gouldsmith went to the bullpen and brought in Stephen Singer to face Falcon pinch hitter Ben Ausbun. Smith made an outstanding play at second to get the Rebels out of the inning, ranging to shallow right field and leaping to catch a liner off the bat of Ausbun.
Skogley finished the game giving up two runs on five hits to go with his 10 strikeouts and just two walks.
The Rebels quickly got those runs back and a lot more in the bottom half of the frame in turning what was a one-run game into a blow out. Beamon and Kowalski led off the inning with singles and following a sacrifice bunt, Navarro Jr. hit a double down the right-field line that scored two. AFA reliever Mike Ruvolo issued an intentional walk to Blake Gailen to set up a right-handed match up with Rebel third baseman Xavier Scruggs. The move did not work, as Scruggs drilled his team-leading eighth-home run to straight-away center field for an 8-2 lead, blowing the game wide open. The Rebels tacked on four more runs in the frame and the rout was on.
Michael Brenly hit his third home run of the season, a solo shot to left field to cap the Rebel scoring and Air Force scored twice in the top of the ninth as well.
The Rebels finished the game with 15 hits as Beamon and Roundy each collected three of their own. Beamon also scored three times while Kowalski, Smith and Scruggs each knocked in three runs. AFA had nine hits on the evening with Chay Derbigny leading the way with three.
UNLV and Air Force wrap up their series tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. (PT) and the game will be broadcast live on KSHP 1400 AM with Mitch Moss calling the action. Before the game nine Rebel seniors will be honored as well.