Rebels Fall to Bulldogs in Extra Innings|
April 28, 2017
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Softball returned home to Eller Media Stadium Friday night after two straight weekends on the road, but couldn't pull out a second consecutive series opening win, falling to Fresno State (27-20, 7-8) 6-4 in nine innings. It was the first extra inning game for the Rebels this season, who move to 23-21 overall and 6-10 in Mountain West play.
Senior Morgan Ettinger made her 24th start in the circle and was solid the majority of the game, but ultimately gave up the two runs in the top of the ninth to take her 13th loss of the season. The right-hander did set a new career single-season record with her 13th complete game of her final collegiate campaign.
Fresno State struck first in the opening frame after three singles and a pair of passed balls allowed a run to cross the plate. The Bulldogs extended their lead to 2-0 in the second on a leadoff single that came around to score after a Rebel error.
The Scarlet & Gray got one back in the bottom half of the frame to cut the lead to one. Justine Federe connected on a leadoff single, then made it to third and scored on back-to-back wild pitches by FS starter Kamalani Dung, who entered the game with a 1.75 ERA over her last six outings. After Ettinger kept the Bulldogs off the scoreboard in the top of the third, the Rebels offense got going in the bottom half. Jadelyn Yadao-Valdez and Janine Petmecky started the sequence with a pair of one-out singles, bringing up the team's offensive leader at the plate, senior transfer Brianna Gatlin. As she has done all season, Gatlin delivered with a three-run home run over the left field wall, giving the Rebels a 4-2 lead through three. It was the fourth home run of the season for Gatlin, who leads the team in batting average, hits and runs scored.
The two teams traded scoreless frames over the next two innings until the Bulldogs answered with a home run of their own - this one a two-run shot to left by Lindsey Willmon to even the score at four.
The Rebels had a couple of chances to retake the lead in both the sixth and seventh innings. With two outs in the bottom of the sixth, Brooke Stover was hit by a pitch, which was followed by a Emily Vela double and a pinch-hit walk by Chrissi Omalza to load the bases. That brought up another pinch hitter, Abby Howard, but Howard struck out swinging as Dung got out of the jam unscathed. In the bottom of the seventh, UNLV put runners on the corners with two outs on singles by Federe and Gatlin before Charlie Masterson went down on strikes to send the game to extras.
After a scoreless eighth, the Bulldogs broke up the stalemate in the top of the ninth when a leadoff single, a Rebel error and two more singles allowed two runs to score, giving FS a 6-4 lead. The Rebels went down in order in the ninth and the game was over.
UNLV will hope for a better outcome in game two Saturday, a day the team has gone 5-0 on during Mountain West play in 2017. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Eller Media Stadium.