Rebels Close Out Season with Series Victory Over San Jose State|
May 13, 2017
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV Softball ended its 2017 campaign on a high note Saturday on Senior Day at Eller Media Stadium, beating San Jose State (36-17, 16-8) 4-2 to capture its second conference series win of the year. Two Rebel seniors - Morgan Ettinger and Brianna Gatlin - were honored with their families in attendance during the pregame festivities and both delivered stellar performances in their final collegiate games. With the win, UNLV ends the year 25-27 overall and 8-16 in conference play. The Mountain West Champion Spartans will find out their NCAA Regional destination during Sunday's selection show.
Ettinger made her 81st and final start of her UNLV career, turning in her 18th complete game of the year. The right-hander, who hadn't picked up a win since March 11, gave up just one earned run on five hits en route to her career-high 13th victory of the season. It was a perfect send off for the four-year starter and key member of the UNLV pitching staff.
The Scarlet & Gray offense provided the run support for Ettinger's victory with a three-run bottom of the sixth, breaking a 1-1 tie.
The Rebels struck first in the bottom of the third after two scoreless frames. Sophomore Myranda Bueno and Jadelyn Yadao-Valdez started the sequence with back-to-back singles to put two on with no outs. A groundout by Janine Petmecky moved the runners up a base and another groundout by Gatlin scored Bueno from third for the 1-0 lead.
The Spartans responded in the top of the fourth as SJSU's Madison Aurin sent Ettinger's third pitch of the inning over the left field wall to even things back up at one.
That's where it would stay until the sixth, when Gatlin singled down the left field line and reached second on a wild pitch. That brought junior transfer Alyssa Navarro to the plate with a chance to give UNLV the lead. On the third pitch, Navarro crushed the ball to left field, with the ball traveling far enough to hit the scoreboard on the two-run home run - her team-leading eighth of the season.
The Spartans made it interesting in the top of the seventh after Ettinger put one on with a walk and that runner scored on an error, but that would be as close as they would get. Ettinger struck out the next batter and got a fly ball for the final out.
Ettinger, from Chino Hills, Calif., leaves the Rebels after having etched her name in the UNLV Softball record books. She ranks eighth all-time in career starts while her 135 career appearances are the fourth-most in program history. She also ranks in the top 10 all-time in complete games, wins and innings pitched as her 38 complete games rank 10th all-time, her 40 career wins rank seventh all-time and her 519.0 innings pitched are eighth-most in school history. The three-time Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honoree also set several personal single-season records during her final season, registering career highs with 13 wins, 18 complete games, 179.2 innings pitched, a 3.16 ERA and 109 strikeouts - the most by a Rebel pitcher since 2014. Ettinger will be graduating next spring with a degree in Secondary Education.
Gatlin, a La Quinta, Calif., native, made a significant impact in her one year here after transferring to UNLV from Utah Valley this past fall. She started all 52 games this season as a versatile utility player for the Rebels, playing in the infield, outfield and as the designated player. Her .335 batting average, 52 hits, 28 RBI and four home runs all ranked second on the team while her 31 runs scored and 13 doubles led all Rebels in 2017. In her three seasons at Utah Valley, she recorded 15 home runs, 84 RBI and a career batting average of .319, which ranks seventh all-time in Wolverine history. Gatlin is majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies at UNLV.
The Rebels' season is over, but they did send San Jose State into the tournament on a two-game losing streak.