Rebels Dispatch Spartans in Five Innings|
May 12, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - A day after suffering a brutal late-inning home loss to San Jose State, UNLV Softball (24-27, 7-16) handed out its own dose of defeat as the Rebels dispatched the Spartans in a 9-1 run-rule victory at Eller Media Stadium Friday night. The UNLV win broke streaks for both teams, with the Rebels' losing skid ending at eight games and the Spartans' win streak halted at nine. The Scarlet & Gray victory also somewhat spoiled the Spartans' celebration of their first Mountain West Softball Championship, as San Jose State (36-16, 16-6) clinched the title and the conference's automatic NCAA bid after second-place San Diego State lost at Nevada, Reno Friday.
After getting blanked in game one, the Rebel offense exploded for nine runs on 13 hits while freshman Breana Burke was stellar, giving up one run on seven hits in her second career complete game. Burke, making the ninth start of her freshman campaign, allowed a first inning run on three hits then pitched four scoreless innings to pick up her fourth win of the year.
Despite getting down 1-0 before even taking an at-bat, the Rebels stayed focused and fired back right away. Senior Brianna Gatlin got things started in the first, hitting a deep fly ball to right field that was dropped by SJSU, allowing her to reach third with one out. Next up was first baseman Alyssa Navarro, who has been hot at the plate over the last month. Navarro continued that trend with an RBI double to no-man's land in shallow left field to knot the score at one. A Justine Federe groundout moved Navarro to third and a Kiley Harrison single gave UNLV its first lead of the series at 2-1. But the Rebels weren't done yet as freshman Charlie Masterson singled to right field to bring Harrison home and make it 3-1.
The Scarlet & Gary decided to keep the rally going in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Myranda Bueno and junior Jadelyn Yadao-Valdez connected on back-to-back infield singles to put two on with no outs, then it was Gatlin who delivered with a one-out two-run double to right center to extend the UNLV lead to 5-1 after two innings.
From there the Rebels just kept adding to the lead while Burke threw darts in the circle. In the fourth, Bueno was again up in the leadoff spot and crushed the first-pitch over the left centerfield wall for her first home of the year and third of her career to extend the lead to 6-1.
In the fifth, a Federe single was followed by a pinch-hit single by freshman Reina Bondi and both were able to advance an extra base on a Spartan error - SJSU's third of the game. That brought up freshman Emily Vela, who lofted a ball that dropped down the right field line to score both Federe and Bondi to make it 8-1. Vela reached second on the throw to home on the play, but was thrown out at third on a Bueno's fielder's choice. Pinch-hit specialist Chrissi Omalza was up next and singled to right center to put runners on first and third with Janine Petmecky coming to the plate - the team leader in runs batted in this year. The junior once again delivered, this time with a single to the shortstop to score Bueno from third. Bueno's third run scored of the game put the Rebels up 9-1 and the run-rule ended the game - the second time this season the Rebels have been on the positive end of the mercy rule.
Saturday's finale and senior day celebration will be a chance for the Rebels to win a second league series in 2017 and to send the Spartans into the NCAA tournament on a two-game losing streak. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. with a senior presentation honoring Morgan Ettinger and Brianna Gatlin taking place prior to the game.