Rebels Pop Colonels, Extinguish Flames|
Feb. 11, 2007
LAS VEGAS - The UNLV softball team improved its record to a perfect 5-0 after defeating Nicholls State and Illinois-Chicago Sunday in the Alexis Resort Kick-Off Classic at Eller Media Stadium. The Rebels began the day with a 10-1 win in six innings over the NSU Colonels and then followed that up with a 10-6 victory over the UIC Flames. The five wins to open the 2007 campaign match only the 1991 Women's College World Series squad to begin a season 5-0. The 5-0 record is also the best the Rebels have recorded in three seasons of hosting the classic.
In game one, UNLV jumped out to a 1-0 lead after one inning and extended it to nine-run cushion with help from nine runs split between the second and third innings. The Rebels scored their 10 runs on only five hits, but were helped by two errors from the Nicholls State defense.
UNLV made up for its missed opportunity to cash in on offense in the first by plating five in the second. Laura Briones opened the frame by smacking her first career home run over the right field fence. Brittany Freight followed with a walk and came around to score on a triple to the right-center gap by Jaci Hull. After NSU recorded two outs, Kendall Fearn walked to put runners on the corners for a Brittany Meade three-run home run that cleared the outer fence of the stadium.
After the Colonels scored their only run of the game in the third with help from a Christie Robinson illegal pitch, UNLV put four more up on the board in the bottom half of the inning. Caitlyn Paus led off with a walk and made her way around the base paths with help from a fielding error on a groundball hit by Freight and a passed ball. With Freight on second, Hull and Kelli Fangonilo walked to load the bases only to see Bolinger get a free pass to first to bring in a run. Another fielding error by the Colonels on a grounder by Fearn kept the bases loaded and scored another run. Meade stepped up to only get hit by the ball to bring in the fourth run of the inning.
Robinson (2-0) picked up her second win of the classic with a three-inning effort against NSU. Robinson allowed one run on two hits, struck out two and walked one. Casey Thompson finished out the contest with two innings of relief. Thompson gave up one hit and walked two.
In game two, UNLV plated 10 runs on 15 hits compared to UIC's six and eight, respectively.
The Flames pushed out to a 1-0 lead after their half of the first following a double by Ashlee Ackerman a single with an error on a hit by Brittany Dixon.
The Rebels countered with two runs in the bottom of the first on a two-run blast by Fearn. Bolinger scored on the shot after receiving a walk.
UIC jumped back into the lead 3-2 with two runs in the second on three singles, a fielder's choice and a sacrifice fly.
UNLV took control of the game in the bottom of the second with six runs on seven hits. A single by Fangonilo plated Paus and Freight. A single by Bolinger forced UIC to pull Sarah Clynes from the circle and insert Chelsea Fuemmeler. With the bases loaded, Fearn moved the runners up a base with a run scoring single to left. Meade knocked in two more runners on a double to center. Ordaz brought home the sixth run of the inning with a single to center.
The Flames would not back down, as they scored three runs in the third on three hits and a UNLV error. A double to center by Melissa Marinacci scored the final two runs for UIC in the game.
With the score 8-6, UNLV got two insurance runs in the third. Freight began the inning with a triple to right center and trotted on home when Hull smashed a ball over the fence in right.
Stephanie Bregante (1-0) notched her first win as a Rebel with four innings of relief. Bregante allowed only one hit and struck out for in her first appearance in a UNLV uniform. She relieved Shannon Crisp, who tossed the first three innings of the contest. Crisp allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits.
Head coach Lonni Alameda nearly cleared her bench against the Flames as all but two available players made an appearance in the contest. Robinson and Thompson, who pitched earlier in the day against Nicholls State, remained on the bench, while 18 Rebels got into the game.
Up next for UNLV is the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic (Feb. 15-19). The Rebels open action on Thursday, Feb. 15, at 7:00 pm against #6/6 Oregon State. UNLV will face Florida International and Central Florida on Friday (Feb. 16), #4/4 Northwestern and #3/3 UCLA on Saturday (Feb. 17), Illinois on Saturday (Feb. 18) and Utah State on Monday (Feb. 19).