Late Errors Cost Rebels Game Two|
April 29, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Softball saw a stellar pitching performance by freshman Breana Burke end in late-inning heartbreak Saturday at Eller Media Stadium as the Rebels dropped game two 3-0 to Fresno State (28-20, 8-8). Burke turned in her first career complete-game performance, but two seventh inning errors by the Rebels led to three Bulldog runs, sealing UNLV's first loss in the second game of a conference series this season. With the defeat, the Rebels move to 23-22 overall and 6-11 in Mountain West play.
Burke, a freshman making her seventh start, pitched her best game this season, giving up three runs - only one earned - on seven hits with two strikeouts and no walks. She faced four or fewer batters in five of seven innings in her longest outing of the year.
The Bulldogs decided to send their ace, Kamalani Dung, back in the circle after throwing nine innings Friday night in the Fresno State win. She had entered the weekend with a 1.75 ERA over her last six starts, but the Rebels were able to tag her for four runs in the 6-4 loss in the series opener. Unfortunately for the Scarlet & Gray, Dung was even better Saturday, shutting down the UNLV offense with a no-hitter through five and a third innings while giving up just two hits total. It was Dung's seventh complete-game shutout of the season - the most of any pitcher in the Mountain West in 2017. It was also just the sixth time UNLV had been shutout.
Despite Dung's dominance and some stingy defense by the Bulldogs, the Rebel did have a couple chances to take the lead late in the game. In the fifth, freshman Emily Vela reached second on a dropped fly ball by the right fielder, but a foul out and fly out left her stranded. In the sixth, Janine Petmecky broke up Dung's no-hitter with a double to left center. Her pinch runner, Karly Bunderson, reached third on a fly ball by Brianna Gatlin, but the threat ended with a groundout by pinch hitter Chrissi Omalza.
After six scoreless innings between the two squads, it would be Fresno State who would break the tie. The top of the seventh started with a leadoff single by FS's Savannah Mchellon. The next batter, Kierra Willis, laid down a bunt and as first baseman Alyssa Navarro tried to field it and throw to second baseman Justine Federe at first, she sent the ball over Federe's head into the deep right field corner in foul territory, allowing Mchellon's pinch runner to score and Willis to reach third. Vanessa Hernandez then doubled to left center to score Willis from third, which was followed by another Rebel error, this time a rare one from third baseman Jadelyn Yadao-Valdez that put runners on the corners. A single scored another run and it was 3-0 by the time Rebels recorded the third out.
In UNLV's last chance at the plate, Vela hit a two-out single, but pinch hitter Kiley Harrison fouled out to end the game.
The defeat sealed the Rebels' fifth series loss in league competition this season. They will try to avoid their first series sweep in Sunday's finale. First pitch is set for 12 p.m. at Eller Media Stadium.