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Offense Carries Rebels Into Sunday Play

May 31, 2003

Box Score

TEMPE, Ariz. - Brent Johnson went 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead the UNLV Rebels to a 16-10 victory over the New Mexico State Aggies Saturday night in an elimination game of the NCAA Baseball Regional at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

The bottom five hitters of the UNLV batting order (Eric Nielsen, Johnson, Stephen Ghutzman, Peter White, Robert VanKirk) each tabbed multi-hit games and combined to go 11-for-22 (.500) in the game. Leadoff hitter Garett Shitanishi also went 3-for-7 with three RBI in the victory.

UNLV lived to see another day in the NCAA Tournament, but will have to beat host Arizona State (52-12) twice on Sunday to advance to the Super Regionals. The Rebels improved to 47-16 with the victory after scoring 38 runs in the two games on Saturday. New Mexico State went 0-2 Saturday to end its 2003 season at 43-18.

UNLV freshman starter Matthew Luca (5-0) lasted only a third of an inning, leaving the game with an undisclosed injury. Luca, who threw a no-hitter vs. San Diego State on March 28, gave up two runs on one hit in his brief appearance. Left-handed reliever Giovanni Pupo recorded the win to improve to 5-1 on the year. Pupo gave up nine hits and six runs in five and a third innings.

New Mexico State starter Christian Jackson was saddled with the loss surrendering 11 hits and nine runs in just two and a third innings of work. Jackson ended the season with a 5-2 record. In NMSU's two games Saturday the Aggie pitching staff gave up 31 runs.

NMSU jumped out to the early lead with two runs in the first inning. The Rebels and Aggies exchanged big innings with a four-run second for UNLV and a three-run bottom half of the second for NMSU. UNLV would take the lead for good with a five-run third frame.



Game Notes: NMSU All-American first baseman Billy Becher recorded four more RBI to give him 118 on the season, tying for sixth place in the NCAA single-season record books with Brandon Larson (LSU, 1997) and Frank Fazzini (Florida State, 1985).

UNLV 16, New Mexico State 10 (5/31/2003 at Tempe, Ariz.)
UNLV................ 045 002 500  - 16 17  0      (47-16)
New Mexico State.... 230 003 002  - 10 13  1      (43-18)
New Mexico State - JACKSON; ALLEN(3); COPPINGER(4); SEVERE(7).
Win-PUPO(5-1)  Loss-JACKSON(5-2)  T-3:47  A-646
UNLV Mountain West NCAA Learfield Born and Raised Coke Zero Findlay Toyota Chevron MGM Resorts