Rebels Head To Houston For First Road Trip of 2018|
Feb. 22, 2018
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - After two straight home tournaments to start the 2018 season, UNLV softball will head out on the road for the first time as the Rebels travel to Texas for the Houston Invitational Feb. 23-25. The Scarlet and Gray will play five games over three days, with matchups against Syracuse and UTSA on Friday, Yale and tournament-host Houston on Saturday and a rematch with UTSA to wrap things up Sunday.
Through two weeks, the Rebels sit at 8-3 and in third place in the Mountain West standings. Over the weekend, UNLV went 4-2 at the Marucci Desert Classic with wins over Idaho State, Buffalo, South Dakota and Seattle and losses to UTEP and Hawaii. The Scarlet and Gray had another weekend of dramatics, notching its second walk-off win in a week's span with a 6-5 come-from-behind eighth-inning win over Buffalo on Friday. Trailing 5-2 with one out and two on in the bottom of the seventh, freshman shortstop Samantha Diaz picked a good time for her first collegiate home run - a three-run shot to left field to tie it up - and the Rebels went on to win on a bases-loaded hit by senior catcher Brooke Stover in the eighth. Diaz almost sparked another comeback the following night, hitting a seventh-inning two-run homer to bring the Rebels within one of UTEP, but that rally ultimately fell short in the 8-7 defeat. Diaz earned her first career Mountain West Player of the Week honor after the stellar weekend performance.
The 8-3 record through 11 games marks the 11th time since 1985 the team has started with that record, while it is the best record for a head coach in his or her first season at the helm of the program.
A pair of upperclassmen have shined for the Scarlet and Gray in the early part of the season. At the plate, junior left fielder Myranda Bueno leads the team with a whopping .441 batting average and 15 hits and heads into the Houston Invitational with a 10-game hitting streak. In the circle, senior Janine Petmecky - who did not pitch an inning as a junior in 2017 - has been strong, leading the team with a 1.27 ERA and a team-high 21 strikeouts.
The Rebels' first pitch of the tournament is set for Friday, February 23 at 10:30 a.m. CT/8:30 a.m. PT against Syracuse at Houston's Cougar Softball Stadium.
RANKING THE REBELS
• Mountain West: Overall UNLV sits top the MW in batting average (.314) and fielding percentage (.979), while ranking second with a 2.96 ERA. The Rebels are tied for first with 92 hits and are fourth with 50 runs scored. Rebel pitchers lead the conference in innings pitched 78.0 and are third in both opposing batting average (.275) and strikeouts (49). Individually, Myranda Bueno's .441 batting average is fourth in the MW, while her 15 hits are third. Bueno is also tied for fifth with nine runs scored along with teammate Justine Federe. Janine Petmecky is second in the MW with a 1.27 ERA and is fifth in strikeouts (21). Sophomore Charlie Masterson is second in innings pitched at 34.1.
• NCAA: UNLV is 26th in the country in fielding percentage (.979)
• The 8-3 record through 11 games marks just the 11th time since 1985 UNLV has started a season at 8-3 or better.
• Fox's 8-3 record through her first 11 games as the head coach is the best mark for a UNLV head coach in his/her first season
• UNLV has committed just seven errors, while its opponents have committed 17. Its .979 fielding percentage leads the Mountain West
• Freshman shortstop Samantha Diaz came up big at the plate at the Marucci Desert Classic last weekend, going 6-of-19 (.319) with her first two collegiate home runs, five runs scored and five RBI. She earned her first career Mountain West Softball Player of the Week award - the program's first since 2016
• With Friday's 6-5 come-from-behind walk-off win over Buffalo, the Rebels have two walk-off wins on the season.after opening 2018 with a 3-2 walk-off win over North Dakota State on Friday, Feb. 9
• Freshman first baseman Mia Trejo had an impressive weekend, going a team-high 7-of-17 (.412) as the Rebels went 4-2 at the Marucci Desert Classic. She currently has a four-game hitting streak
• Junior Myranda Bueno has had a strong offensive start to the season as she leads the Rebels with a .441 batting average and 15 hits and is tied for first in runs scored (9) and doubles (3). The left-fielder also leads the team with five mulit-hit games and enters the weekend in Houston with a team-high 10-game hitting streak
• Sophomore second baseman Justine Federe has been productive on offense for UNLV, hitting .314 with three doubles, nine runs scored and a team-high eight RBI. She has a six-game on-base streak heading into this weekend's games at Houston and is tied for the team lead with two multi-RBI games
• The Rebel pitching staff has a combined 2.96 ERA, which is second in the Moutain West through two weeks. Janine Petmecky leads the way with a 1.64 ERA, a 3-1 record and 21 strikeouts. The senior has given up just four earned runs in 22.0 innings pitched
• UNLV is 3-0 in night games, which bodes well for their 7 p.m. CT matchup against tournament host Houston on Saturday night
• Rebels have only lost once when they've out-hit their opponent, but also have an above .500 record at 3-2 when they are out-hit by the opponent
• UNLV is hitting .300 with runners in scoring position, while its opponents are hitting just .260 in those situations
• Four of the five teams enter the weekend with and at or above .500 record
• Syracuse has started the sesaon witha 5-3 record over the first two weekends, with two wins at LSU's Tiger Classic opening weekend and three more wins at the prestigious Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, California
• At the plate, the 'Cuse have been led by the duo of Bryce Holmgren and Alicia Hansen, who are both hitting over .400. Holmgren is hitting at a .500 clip with a team-high 12 hits and six RBI to go along with four runs scored, while Hansen has a .417 ERA with a team-leading eight runs scored, 10 hits and three RBI
• In the circle, sophomore Alexa Romero has been dominant this season with a 4-0 record and a 1.47 ERA. She has two shutouts on the year, one of which was a perfect game last weekend against Sacramento State - just the second perfect game in Syracuse history.
• The 'Cuse are coached by Mike Bosch, who is in third year at the helm and has 57-45 overal record
• UTSA enters the weekend with a 6-2 overall record, most recently going 4-1 in its home-hosted tournament last weekend, with two of the four wins coming on run-rule fashion.
• The Roadrunners have a trio of players hitting .348 or better -- Celeste Loughman, Ashlynn Walls and Bailee Baldwin. The three have combined for 15 RBI, seven home runs, 29 hits, 21 runs scored and seven doubles
• Madison Nelson leads UTSA with a 1.72 ERA, giving up just five earned runs with 20.1 innings pitched and a 2-0 record.
• The Roadrunners are coached by Michelle Cheatham, who is in her fourth season
• The Houston Invitational will serve as the season opener for the Bulldogs
• Yale went 17-28 last spring, including 10-10 in Ivy League play
• Senior Francesca Casalino and junior Shelby Kennedy are Yale's top returners at the plate, hitting .351 and .336, respectively, last spring and combining for 78 hits, 32 RBI and 43 runs scored
• The Bulldogs have two experienced pitchers back in junior Terra Jerpbak and Casalino. Jerpbak's 4.32 ERA in 2017 was a team-best as was her 108.2 innings pitched. Casalino was second on the team in both categories at 4.06 and 88.0 innings pitched
• The Bulldogs are coached by Jen Goodwin, who is in her sixth year
• The Cougars currently sit at 4-4 through two weeks, with all four losses coming to schools from Power-5 conferences and two of the four losses to teams ranked in the top-25 (5-4 No. 6/9 Texas A&M and 1-0 to No. 3 Oregon). They also have a win over a ranked team - a 6-0 win over No. 15 Ole Miss
• The Cougar lineup is dangerous, with five players hitting over .300, led by Sarah Queen's .478 clip. Mariah Garcia has also been productive, hitting .375 with nine hits, five runs scored, the only two Cougar home runs on the season and a team-high nine RBI. In total four different Cougars have nine hits or more in eight games
• Houston's pitching staff has also been stout with a combined 2.04 ERA, led by Savannah Heebner with a 1.75 ERA in 20.0 innings pitched. As a staff, the Cougars have given up just 16 earned runs in 55.0 innings
• The Cougars are coached by second-year head coach Kristin Vesely, a former All-American at Oklahoma who originally joined the program as an assistant in 2011
Live stats for all five games are available on the Softball schedule page on www.UNLVRebels.com. Live updates can also be found by following @UNLVSoftball on twitter.