Rebels Sweep Friday's Doubleheader In Dramatic Fashion|
Feb. 16, 2018
UNLV 5 Idaho State 3 | UNLV 6 Buffalo 5 (8) | 2018 Marucci Desert Classic Tournament Page | Purchase Tickets | @UNLVSoftball
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - For the second time in a week's span, UNLV softball used late-game heroics for a come-from-behind extra-inning walk-off win. The latest on Friday night at Eller Media Stadium was especially dramatic as the Rebels scored four runs over the last two innings to turn what looked like the second loss of the season and a split on the day to a doubleheader sweep and a 6-1 record.
Trailing 5-2 to Buffalo (1-4) in game two and down to its last two outs, freshman shortstop Samantha Diaz stepped up to the plate with runners on second and third. The Bulls' pitcher left one over the middle and Diaz made her pay by blasting it out over the left field wall to tie the game and send it to extras. It was the first home run of Diaz''s collegiate career. In the bottom half of the eighth, UNLV loaded the bases with one out and senior catcher Brooke Stover delivered with a hit to right field to send the game-winning run home.
Earlier in the day, the Rebels built a 5-0 lead against Idaho State, then held off a late-inning rally attempt for the 5-3 win. Sophomore Breana Burke picked up her second win of the season after giving up two runs on six hits in 6.0 innings pitched, while fellow sophomore Charlie Masterson entered in relief to preserve the win and earn the first save by any Rebel pitcher this season.
The 6-1 start is the best for the program since 2010.
GAME 1: UNLV 5 Idaho State 3
THE TURNING POINT: After a scoreless first, the Rebels went to work in the bottom of the second, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of Bengal errors to break the game open. It started with a Myranda Bueno one-out double, which was followed by back-to-back singles by Jade Yadao-Valdez and Brooke Stover. Stover's single was mishandled by the left fielder, allowing both Bueno and Yadao-Valdez to score. After an error on the next play sent Stover to third and allowed Janine Petmecky to reach base, sophomore Justine Federe sent a shot to left center for a double to score two more for the 4-0 lead.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Federe's double proved to be the difference in the game with a 5-3 final tally. The second baseman went 1-for-2 with two RBI, one run scored and a walk in the victory.
GAME 2: UNLV 6 Buffalo 5 (8)
THE TURNING POINT: On the brink of losing for the second time this season, UNLV instead rallied with one out in the bottom of the seventh. Petmecky sent a double to the left field wall to give the Rebels life. Federe then popped one up that first looked like it would be caught by the left fielder in foul territory, but the Bulls' left fielder dropped it just inside the line for the fair ball and just like that UNLV had runners at second and third. Then it was time for Diaz's heroics with a towering three-run home run. Once she rounded the bases and crossed the plate, the momentum had clearly shifted to the Rebels and they rode that through Stover's game-winning hit in the eighth.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Freshman shortstop Samantha Diaz picked a good time to notch her first collegiate home run, and it was a three-run shot to boot. It was Diaz's only hit of the game, but it proved to be the game-changer.
STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV had just six hits over the first six innings, then exploded for four hits and four runs over the final two frames.
QUOTABLE: Head coach Kristie Fox:
On the team rallying for the late-inning win:
"I was really impressed with them. They stuck with the process, kept up the energy and kept a positive attitude regardless of the score. We fought hard until the end and we took advantage of what the other team gave us, so I was really proud of them."
On what the team can take away from today's games:
"I think they learned that if we continue to stay focused and do the things we talk about, then we are always going to have a chance to compete, no matter what the situation is."
* UNLV's 6-1 record through seven games is its best start since 2010 and marks just the sixth time they have started a season 6-1 or better
* Through the first seven games, UNLV has committed just two errors, while its opponents have committed 13
* The Marucci Desert Classic is sponsored by Marucci Sports, the official UNLV softball and baseball equipment supplier
UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV is back Saturday afternoon at Eller Media Stadium for another doubleheader on day two of the Marucci Desert Classic. The Rebels will face UTEP at 3:45 p.m. followed by a 6 p.m. matchup against South Dakota.