Rebels' Offense Explodes In Saturday Sweep|
March 10, 2018
UNLV 5 New Mexico State 2 | UNLV 9 Portland State 1 (6) | Rebel Classic Tournament Central | @UNLVSoftball
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV softball notched its second consecutive Saturday sweep with wins over New Mexico State and Portland State on day two of the Rebel Classic at Eller Media Stadium. The two victories puts the Rebels at 17-7 on the year - their best start since the 1996 team went 19-5 - while the 17 wins is just eight shy of their win total in all of 2017 before even beginning conference play.
After being limited to two runs in two games Friday, the Rebel offense came alive Saturday to score a combined 14 runs in a 5-2 win against NMSU and a 9-1 six-inning victory over Portland State. Eight different Rebels recorded RBIs, led by senior Janine Petmecky and freshman Mia Trejo, who had three each on the day. The nine runs against the Vikings were a single-game high in 2018 while their 15 hits was tied for most in a game this season. Overall, UNLV's star of the day on offense was senior Jade Yadao-Valdez, who went 6-for-7 with five runs scored and two stolen bases. The third baseman was also unflappable on the hot corner, making several tough plays look easy.
As it has been for a majority of the season, the pitching staff was solid in limiting the opposing offense and giving the Scarlet and Gray a chance to win. The duo of Petmecky and sophomore Charlie Masterson allowed a combined three runs and 13 hits in two complete game performances. Petmecky continues to impress as she won her seventh straight start in game one against the Aggies, which was also her seventh consecutive complete game. Now 10-1 on the season, Petmecky in the circle has been one of the biggest surprises this year. She hasn't done it alone, however, as Masterson has pitched strong but has been on the wrong end of some recent low-scoring battles. Against the Vikings, the UNLV offense was able to give her some run support and Masterson settled in, giving up just one run on six hits in six innings pitched to move to 4-3 overall.
GAME 1: UNLV 5 New Mexico State 2
THE TURNING POINT: The Rebels jumped on the Aggies early, scoring three runs in the first in a rally that was sparked by a leadoff single by Jade Yadao-Valdez, an RBI double by Petmeck and a two-RBI single by Trejo. But NMSU wouldn't go away, cutting the deficit to one at 3-2 in the top of the fifth. UNLV didn't waste any time getting its cushion back. In the bottom of the fifth, sophomore Emily Vela led off with a single and Justine Federe moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. After Petmecky walked to put two on, it was Trejo again who delivered, sending a two-out double to left center to score both baserunners and put the game away.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Despite being a freshman, Trejo has been one of the more consistent hitters for the Rebels this season. The first baseman took advantage of opportunities to come up with the timely hits that sometimes evade UNLV's offense. He three RBI were a single-game career high, with her first-inning RBI putting the Rebels up 3-0 early, then her fifth inning two-run double giving the Rebels some breathing room after NMSU had cut the lead to just one.
STAT OF THE GAME: Six different Rebels recorded as least one hit against the Aggies with Yadao-Valdez and Trejo leading the way with two.
GAME 2: UNLV 9 Portland State 1
THE TURNING POINT: UNLV's first inning against the Viking almost mirrored its opening frame against the Aggies. Yadao-Valdez got a single to start the game and eventually made her way to third, setting up another Petmecky RBI single to give the Rebels a 1-0 lead. It would stay that way until the top of the fourth. That's when catcher Brooke Stover led off the inning with a double, advanced to third on a Trejo fly ball and fellow freshman Samantha Diaz came through with an RBI single to score Stover and make it 2-0. A Reina Bondi double scored Diaz, which was followed by an RBI infield single by Yadao-Valdez to score Bondi. As Yadao-Valdez attempted to steal season, the throw sailed into center field and the speedy senior made it home on the play for the fourth run of the inning and fifth of the game. The Rebels went on to score one in the fifth and three in the sixth to end the game early on a run-rule after the bottom of the sixth.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Yadao-Valdez was on fire against PSU, going 4-for-4 at the plate. Two of her hits went up the middle while the other two were infield singles. Her speed led to two stolen bases and forced a Viking error that led to one of the three runs she scored in the game. It wasn't just her offense though as the senior made two terrific snags along the third base side that led to PSU outs.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Rebels' nine runs were a single-game season high while the 15 hits matched the most in a game this season.
QUOTABLE: Head coach Kristie Fox -
"The team came ready to play today and I really liked our aggressive approach at the plate. Our pitching staff executed great locations and overall the energy was much better."
* UNLV has a 17-7 record through the first 24 games, marking the best start since the 1996 squad went 19-5. The 17 wins are just eight shy of 2017's win total with 24 conference games and one non-conference game still to play
* Jade Yadao-Valdez went 6-for-7 with five runs scored, one RBI and two stolen bases in the two wins. That included leadoff hits in both games.
* Dating back to Feb. 17, Petmecky has won seven consecutive starts, all complete game performances, giving up just five earned runs over 49.0 innings with 51 strikeouts. For the year, Petmecky is 10-1 with a team-best 1.36 ERA and a career-high 64 strikeouts
UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV will finish out its last weekend of non-conference tournament play with another matchup against the Vikings of Portland State. First pitch is set for 11:15 a.m. at Eller Media Stadium.