Rebels Split Saturday Doubleheader|
Feb. 18, 2018
UTEP 8 UNLV 7 | UNLV 6 South Dakota 2 | 2018 Marucci Desert Classic Tournament Page | Purchase Tickets | @UNLVSoftball
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV softball split its doubleheader Saturday on day two of the Marucci Desert Classic at Eller Media Stadium, dropping a back-and-forth contest to UTEP 8-7 in game one then bouncing back for a 6-2 win against South Dakota in game two. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Rebels, while Saturday's results brought their overall record to 7-2, marking just the eighth time in program history they've started a season 7-2 or better.
It looked as if more late-game magic was in store for UNLV against the Miners as another Samantha Diaz homer brought the home team within one, but the Rebels ultimately left the game-tying and game-winning runs on base to suffer their second loss of the season.
Senior Janine Petmecky was tagged with the loss in relief against UTEP, but didn't let that phase her as she came back with a complete-game two-run performance against the Coyotes for her third win of the season. The UNLV offense also gave Petmecky a cushion as it broke the game open in the second on a three-run home run by sophomore Justine Federe and they never looked back.
GAME 1: UTEP 8 UNLV 7
THE TURNING POINT: The Rebels almost completed two comebacks against the Miners, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead after trailing 3-0, then scoring two in the bottom of the seventh to make it interesting. Ultimately it came down to the very last pitch and the Miners' pitcher won out by getting sophomore Charlie Masterson to hit into a game-ending groundout.
REBEL OF THE GAME: For the second-straight night, freshman Samantha Diaz came up with a huge hit late in the game. While Saturday's two-run home run to right field didn't tie the game like Friday's dinger had, she almost single handedly swung the game back in UNLV's favor like she had the previous evening. On the day, she went 4-for-7 with three runs scored and two RBI on the two-run shot.
GAME 2: UNLV 6 South Dakota 2
THE TURNING POINT: Up 1-0 in the bottom of the second, senior catcher Brooke Stover drew a walk, which was followed by a bunt single by speedy senior Jade Yadao-Valdez. After sophomore Emily Vela moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, Federe came to the plate and broke the game open with her first home run of the season - a three-run bomb to center field to make it 4-0 UNLV.
REBEL OF THE GAME: In addition to the home-run, Federe, who is hitting at a .345 clip, also added a double as she went 2-for-4 in the game with two runs scored and three RBI.
STAT OF THE DAY: The Rebels registered back-to-back games with double-digit hits for the first time this season.
QUOTABLE: Head coach Kristie Fox:
On the team's performance today and responding after a tough loss:
"I think that being put in those kind of situations early in the season are going to really beneficial for us. The Mountain West is a tough conference and we are going to be in a lot of tight games, so to be able to have those experiences today and be able to bounce back is a positive. A big thing for us is taking care of the ball and we made a few mistakes with that today, but I think overall they are handling these pressure situations very well. There were a lot of runners on base and the other team had a lot of opportunities and we were able to shut it down and get the win in the second game. Janine [Petmecky] did a really good job of battling and I was really impressed with some of the key at-bats we had and taking advantages of opportunities at the plate. Devynn [Marshall] came in with a huge pinch-hit RBI that gave us a good cushion late in the game."
* Saturday's game one loss ended a four-game UNLV winning streak, matching the longest streak they had all of last season
* UNLV is 7-2 through nine games for the second straight year, marking just the eighth time in program history the team has started at 7-2 or better
* Through the first nine games, UNLV has committed just five errors, while its opponents have committed 14
* The Marucci Desert Classic is sponsored by Marucci Sports, the official UNLV softball and baseball equipment supplier
UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV will have one single game Sunday afternoon, taking on Seattle University at Eller Media Stadium at 1:30 p.m. on day three of the Marucci Desert Classic.