Late Homer Does The Rebels In Against Valparaiso Sunday|
March 4, 2018
Valparaiso 4 UNLV 1 | @UNLVSoftball
PHOENIX, Arizona (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV softball overcame one deficit against Valparaiso in Sunday's weekend finale at Grand Canyon's Lopes Up Classic in Phoenix, but couldn't overcome a second one after a three-run home run by the Crusaders broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the seventh. The homer ultimately did the Rebels in as UNLV went down in order in the bottom half of the inning to suffer its second loss of the weekend and sixth overall in 2018.
Despite the defeat, the Scarlet and Gray's 14-6 record through 20 games is the program's best since the 1996 squad went 15-5 and marks just the seventh time the team has started the season at that mark or better.
Sophomore Breana Burke, making her first start and appearance of the weekend, was solid throughout the game, giving up one run in the first inning followed by 5.1 scoreless innings. But it was a pitch with one out and two on in the seventh that cost her and the Rebels the game as Burke fell to 3-3 on the year.
THE TURNING POINT: The Rebels evened the score in the fourth and it stayed that way until the top of the seventh as it looked like the game could be headed for extras. Valpo led off the inning against Burke with a double and then put two on after drawing a one-out walk, which brought up Valpo's Jaymee Lawton, who sent a shot to center field to score three and give the Crusaders the lead for good.
REBEL OF THE GAME: After getting down 1-0 immediately in the top of the fourth, the Rebels were able to even the score in the fourth on a pinch-hit RBI single by freshman Devynn Marshall. Marshall now has two pinch-hit RBI this year.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Crusaders committed five errors in the game, but unfortunately the Rebels could not take full advantage of those miscues.
QUOTABLE: Head coach Kristie Fox -
"I hope this weekend taught us more about ourselves in terms of what our focus and energy looks and feels like when we win versus when we lose and we learn to have consistency there because it is one part we have complete control of. We know what our team goal and game plan is and this week in practice we will make some adjustments and strive for improvement in our core values."
* UNLV's 14-6 record is the program's best since the 1996 squad went 15-5 through the first 20 games. It also marks just the seventh time since the program's first season in 1985 that the Rebels have started 14-6 or better.
* Overall, the Rebels went 3-2 on the weekend, suffering their first loss on a Friday and first loss on a Sunday during the 2018 season.
* While UNLV had one error against Valpo, they still have only committed 10 in 20 games this season. Overall, the Rebels have committed zero errors in 11 games this season and have just one game where they committed more than one.
* Sophomore Justine Federe was huge at the plate in Phoenix, hitting .412 with seven hits, three doubles, two runs scored and seven RBI. She leads the team with 19 RBI this season and is hitting .500 (9-for-18) with runners in scoring position.
* Senior Janine Petmecky picked up all three of UNLV's wins on the weekend to bring her record to 8-1 on the season. In the three wins, including two complete games, she pitched 15.2 innings, allowed three earned runs and struck out 20, including a career-high 12 against Valparaiso Sunday.
UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV will play one more tournament during the non-conference portion of its schedule, returning home to host the Rebel Classic March 8-11 at Eller Media Stadium. The tournament features UNLV, DePaul, New Mexico State, Portland State and the No. 1 ranked team in the country, Washington, who will enter the weekend undefeated.