Rebels Even the Series with New Mexico |
March 25, 2017
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Softball rebounded from a late-inning heartbreaking loss in Friday's opener to take game two and even the series with the Lobos in a 4-2 victory at Eller Media Stadium Saturday afternoon. The win improves UNLV's overall record to 18-12 and 2-3 in conference play while New Mexico falls to 15-12 and 1-1 in the league.
The Rebels found themselves in an early hole after giving up two early runs in the top of the first. Freshman Charlie Masterson got the start in the circle, but was pulled before registering an out after five-straight singles by the Lobos produced two runs. Fellow freshman Breana Burke entered in relief and recorded three straight outs to limit the damage. Burke, who struggled a bit in her relief appearance at Utah State last weekend, turned in her best performance of the season, giving up just two hits and zero runs over five innings pitched en route to earning her first-ever victory at the collegiate level. Senior Morgan Ettinger, usually the starter, relieved Burke to start the sixth and got the the final six outs to notch her second save of the season.
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, UNLV got things going after Masterson was a hit by a pitch to put a runner at first with one out. Centerfielder Myranda Bueno, who has been on fire at the plate as of late, was up next and sent a heater down the left field line that stayed fair, allowing pinch runner Jamie Hatch to make it all the way home while Bueno slid into third with a triple. Head coach Lisa Dodd sent pinch hitter Chrissi Omalza up to the plate in place of Jadelyn Yadao-Valdez and Omalza sent a towering fly ball to centerfield that was deep enough to bring Bueno home from third on the sacrifice fly and even the game at two all.
With the score still deadlocked at two, Masterson came to the plate to leadoff the bottom of the fourth and reached on an error by the Lobo shortstop. Bueno followed with a fielder's choice to reach base, but the Lobos got Masterson out at second to take out the lead runner. Bueno then stole second and advanced to third on a Yadao-Valdez groundout to first. After pinch hitter Abby Howard drew a walk to put runners on the corners with two outs, Bondi hit a bullet towards the New Mexico shortstop that was bobbled, allowing Bueno to cross home plate for the second time in the game and break the tie.
Bueno has had a stellar series so far against New Mexico, going 3-for-6 (.500) with three runs scored and one RBI.
The Rebels added an insurance run in the fifth after Janine Petmecky led off the inning with a double and a sac bunt by Navarro followed by a Kiley Harrison single brought her home to make it 4-2.
The game didn't end without some drama as a bizarre circumstance unfolded in the top of the seventh. With Lobo runners on first and second with one out, New Mexico's D'Andra DeFlora was at the plate and appeared to check swing the ball into play on the first pitch of the at bat from Ettinger. The ball trickled down the first baseline, stayed in play and was picked up by Harrison, who appeared to tag out DeFlora and throw out the Lobo runner trying to advance to third on the play -- which would have ended the game. After a lengthy discussion among the umpires and between Dodd and the home plate umpire, it was ruled that neither out was legal with the runners returning to first and second and DeFlora still at the plate with a 1-0 count. Ettinger and the Rebels regrouped after the strange play as the right-hander struck out DeFlora with a whiff for the third-strike and got New Mexico's leadoff hitter Shelbie Franc to hit into a groundout to second to end the game.
Sunday's series finale will serve as a rubber match game, with first pitch set for 12 p.m. at Eller Media Stadium.