UNLV Outlasts New Mexico in MWC Tournament Slugfest
May 27, 2004
LAS VEGAS - In a battle between the Mountain West Conference's two top offensive teams, the Lobos and the Rebels lived up to expectations, combining for 24 runs and an MWC Tournament record 37 hits in UNLV's 15-9 victory in the second round of the conference tournament Thursday afternoon. The Rebels, who used six ninth-inning runs to break open a tie game, set an MWC Tournament record with twenty-two hits on the afternoon.
The Rebels got on the scoreboard first as senior second baseman Ryan Ruiz launched a two-run homer over the wall in left center in the top of the second inning, his sixth of the year.
New Mexico answered in the second, scoring six runs in a two-out rally during the bottom half of the inning. The Lobos got an RBI single from freshman right fielder Chris Dabbs and RBI doubles from junior center fielder Matt Young and third baseman freshman Matt Foote. Junior shortstop Josh Mader put an exclamation point on the inning, knocking a two-run shot over the wall in left center, giving the Lobos a 6-2 lead.
UNLV rallied in the top of the third as they posted three runs on an RBI double by senior center fielder Brent Johnson, a fielder's choice by senior first baseman Eddie Gill, and an RBI single by Ruiz.
The Lobos picked up a run in the bottom half of the third on an RBI by Dabbs before both teams posted a run in the fifth. The Rebels scored on a sacrifice fly by Ruiz while the Lobos scored on a solo home run to left center by senior left fielder Sean Murray, his third of the season.
The Rebels pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the seventh as Lobo pitcher Joe Salas walked Rebel catcher Brad Ross with the bases loaded before plunking left fielder Andrew D'Angelo to tie up the game. Rebel third baseman Zeke Parraz drove in the go ahead run as his single up the middle field scored Ruiz.
New Mexico reclaimed the lead three batters later as Salas, who was also the Lobo designated hitter, doubled to right center to score Mader, tying the game at 9-9.
UNLV regained the lead as D'Angelo hit a single through the left side as sophomore designated hitter Ryan Bird score before the Rebels tacked on five more runs to secure the win. Parraz, junior right fielder Eric Nielsen, and Johnson all drove in runs in the inning.
UNLV got six and one-third innings out of starter Jake Vose, who allowed nine runs on thirteen hits while walking one and striking out three. Junior reliever Matt Minor (4-2) picked up the win, keeping the Lobos scoreless in two and one-third innings, allowing just two hits while striking out one and walking none.
Parraz tied a Mountain West Conference tournament record for hits, finishing a perfect 6-for-6 with three runs scored and two RBI. Ruiz finished 3-for-4 with four RBI, while D'Angelo, Johnson and Gill all had multiple-RBI games.
For the Lobos, Mader was 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI, while center fielder Matt Young and second baseman Ryan Barba each drove in a pair of Runs. Reliever Joe Salas (2-4) was charged with the loss, giving up seven runs on six hits in two and one-third innings, walking three and striking out two.
GAME NOTES New Mexico lost its seventh straight MWC Tournament contest dating back to 2001 with today's loss to UNLV, while the Rebels now have a six-game conference tournament win streak (4-0 in 2003, 2-0 in 204).
UNLV's Zeke Parraz set the MWC Tournament single-game record with six hits (6-for-6) in today's game vs. New Mexico, including a two-out RBI in the top of the seventh inning to give the Rebels a 9-8 lead and a one-out RBI single in the top of the ninth to give UNLV an 11-9 lead. Parraz hit .471 vs. the Lobos this in six meetings prior to the conference tournament this season.
Today vs. New Mexico, UNLV set the MWC Tournament record with 22 hits. The Rebels and Lobos also combined to set the conference tournament record for total hits with 35 (UNLV 22, UNM 13). In both MWC Tournament games, 8-of-9 UNLV batters recorded hits.
New Mexico's Joe Salas was 3-for-27 vs. the Rebels this season before knocking a one-out RBI double to right center in the bottom of the seventh, knotting the game at 9-9.
UNLV's Ryan Ruiz faced New Mexico for the first time this season in today's conference tournament game and went 3-for-3 from the plate with two runs scored, four RBI and a home run.
UNLV's Eric Nielsen stretched his hitting streak to a league-leading 18 games with hits in both MWC Tournament contests. Teammate Brent Johnson has hit safely in 13 straight games. New Mexico's Josh Mader hit .577 vs. UNLV in six regular season games and went 4-for-5 with two RBI and a home run today vs. the Rebels.