Rebels' Late Rally Comes Up Short|
March 24, 2017
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Softball couldn't dig itself all the way out of a late-inning hole against New Mexico in its conference home opener at Eller Media Stadium Friday night, losing 3-2 to the Lobos after a rally in the final frame fell short. The two teams went scoreless through six innings until New Mexico put three on the board in the top of the seventh and the Rebels scored two in the bottom half before a strikeout ended the comeback effort. The loss drops the Rebels' record to 17-12 overall and 1-3 in league play while the Lobos improve to 15-11 and 1-0 in conference.
Senior Morgan Ettinger seemed to regain her confidence in the circle, throwing six scoreless innings before the Lobos got to her in the top of the seventh. The right-hander wasn't dominant throughout, but used timely strikeouts and fly balls to get out of jams in the second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. She couldn't get out of her final one, however, as the Lobos put runners on second and third after a bit of tough luck. After an error allowed the leadoff hitter to reach, Ettinger hit the next batter to put two on. The next batter lined out right to Ettinger and in an effort to get the double play at first, she fired the ball to Alyssa Navarro and Navarro wasn't able to catch it cleanly, allowing both runners to advance on what should have been a double play. Ettinger did get the next batter to fly out, but she couldn't get that third out as the Lobos got a two-out double on the next play to score two and break the scoreless tie. New Mexico added one more on a single before a strikeout stopped the bleeding.
With one more chance to extend the game, centerfielder Myranda Bueno got the rally started with a leadoff single, followed by pinch-hitter Chrissi Omalza reaching on an error. The Rebels sent another pinch hitter, Abby Howard, to the plate next and Howard reached on a fielder's choice. With runners on the corners, a third pinch hitter, Charlie Masterson, was up and a wild pitch during her at bat brought Bueno home from third. Masterson went on to strikeout to leave the Rebels with one on and two outs trailing by two. Senior Brianna Gatlin then delivered with a two-out single to cut the deficit to one. That brought junior Janine Petmecky up to the plate, who has been hot in March and leads the team with 19 RBI. Unfortunately, Petmecky couldn't keep the game going as she struck out looking on a called third strike and that was the game.
On the night, the Lobos out-hit the Rebels 10-7 with the Rebels committing three errors to New Mexico's two.
Ettinger has now lost four straight decisions and will hope to get back on track in her next outing. With the seven-inning effort, the senior did set a new career record with her ninth complete-game performance on the season, breaking her previous high of eight. Lobo pitcher Tess McPherson got the win after shutting down the Rebel bats, allowing just five hits over six innings before UNLV picked up the two runs in the final frame.
Game two is set for Saturday, March 25, at Eller Media Stadium. First pitch is at 4 p.m.