Final Road Trip of 2017 Up Next, Weekend Schedule at SDSU Altered The series, originally schedule for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, will be played Friday and Saturday, with a doubleheader set for Saturday due to rain in Sunday's forecast.
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – A week after UNLV Softball picked up its first Mountain West Conference series victory of 2017, it suffered its first sweep of the season this past weekend at home at the hands of Fresno State. Two of the three defeats were late-inning heartbreakers as the Rebels lost those games in the ninth inning Friday night and the seventh inning on Sunday. The Rebels are now .500 on the season at 23-23 overall while their Mountain West record now stands at 6-12. There are just two series left in the regular season, one on the road at San Diego State followed by a final home series against San Jose State, May 11-13.
The series against the Bulldogs was a battle, with all three games coming down to the final inning. In Friday's series opener, the two squads played to extra innings - the Rebels' first extra frame game of the year - before FS scored two in the top of the ninth to take game one. In game two, freshman Breana Burke pitched a stellar game, recording her first complete game of her young career, but two Rebel errors in the top of the seventh proved to be UNLV's undoing in a 3-0 loss Saturday - the team's first loss in a game two of a Mountain West series in 2017. In the series finale Sunday, it seemed as if the Scarlet & Gray would pull one win out on the weekend, but the Bulldogs had other plans as they erased a 3-1 deficit in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs with two outs to go on to win 4-3.
The Rebels will head out on their final road trip of 2017 for a three-game set at San Diego State this weekend, May 5 & 6. UNLV will try to repeat last year's series outcome as they took two of three from the Aztecs at Eller Media Stadium, but will want to avoid the same result they had the last time they were in San Diego - a sweep. With rain in the forecast for Sunday, the two teams will meet Friday night at 6 p.m. and then have a doubleheader Saturday at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. at SDSU Softball Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
NEWS & NOTES
23-23 is the best record under Lisa Dodd through 46 games in her five years at the helm.
Pair of streaks end: Entering the series against Fresno State, the Rebels had yet to lose a game when they were leading after four innings (17-0), but two of the three losses to the Bulldogs came via late-inning defeats, ending that run. The team had also yet to lose in game two of a series during conference play, but that also ended in the 3-0 shutout loss in game two against FS.
A Weekend of Firsts: The Rebels picked up a couple of firsts against Colorado State, April 21-23. The 7-6 win on Friday, April 21 in Fort Collins was their first in a Mountain West series opener in 2017, while the 7-4 victory on Saturday, April 22 sealed their first conference series victory of the year.
Season Streaks: The Rebels have two separate four-game win streaks this season. Prior to their conference-opening series at Utah State March 17-19, the Rebels hadn't lost more than two in a row during their non-conference schedule. Until this past weekend against Fresno State, they had not lost more than three in a row all season long, but after a series finale loss at Colorado State and a sweep at the hands of Fresno State, the Rebels' losing streak stands at four. Going into the FS series, the Rebels had also won three of five, but have no won just three of their last eight.
Individual Streaks: Senior transfer Brianna Gatlin had a 17-game on-base streak to start the year while Janine Petmecky's 16-game on-base streak ended in Corvallis April 1 &2 - marking the two-longest such streaks of the season for the Rebels. Petmecky and Gatlin have each had seven game hitting streaks at different points this season. Petmecky currently has a six game hitting streak heading into the weekend at SDSU.
Game Two Success: Saturdays and the second game of a series have both been a good for the Rebels as they own a 9-6 record overall on that day - their best of any day of the week. Until Saturday's 3-0 loss to Fresno State, they had yet to lose game two of a conference series this year as they are now 5-1 in the middle games of a series.
Sunday Scaries: On the flip side, Sundays haven't been kind to the Rebels in 2017 as it is the only day they currently have a losing record (2-9) in 2017 and have yet to win a conference game in a weekend finale.
Ettinger sets new career-highs: After setting a new career-high for wins with her 11th on the season in a 4-0 midweek game against Creighton on March 7, Ettinger picked up her 12th win on March 11 to reset her personal record with a 1-0 decision over New Mexico State at the Rebel Classic. Her 96 strikeouts and 14 complete games are also new career highs, breaking her old top mark of 54 and nine, respectively. Currently, she is seventh in the conference in wins, is fourth in strikeouts, tied for fourth in batters struck out looking (29) and is 11th with a 3.14 ERA.
Petmecky a RBI machine: Petmecky has been clutch with runners in scoring position this year, leading the team with 27 RBI on the season, including two different three-RBI games and three other two RBI games. Dodd has not been afraid to send her in as a pinch hitter with runners in scoring position and more often than not, she delivers.
Fast Starts: The Rebels have scored at least one run in the first inning in 18 out of 46 games this season, with multi-run first innings against Louisville (4), Southern Utah (3), Northern Iowa (3), Creighton (2), Dixie State (2), both games against Portland State (6, 3), the series finale against Utah State (6), the game two win against Boise State (2) and the series opening win at CSU (4). The first inning is also their highest scoring inning overall, with 43 runs total in the opening frame. They are currently 14-4 when they do manage to score in the first inning. On the flip side, they are 9-12 when their opponent scores in the first inning. The team has also scored the most runs in the first and second innings combined this year (63), proving that fast starts are crucial for the Rebels. Scoring first has also been key for the Rebels as they are 15-4 when they strike first and are just 8-19 when they allow opponents to get on the board before they do.
One-run games: While Coach Dodd would likely prefer to win by larger margins, the Rebels have proved they can win the close ones as they are 8-4 in one-run games.
Comeback Magic: Over a seven-game stretch, the Rebels pulled off five come-from-behind wins, with the efforts including a walk-off home run by Janine Petmecky at home against Weber State on Feb. 17 and two late-inning home runs that proved to be the game winners -- one by Justine Federe on Feb. 24 at Hawaii and another by Alyssa Navarro against Montana in Honolulu on Feb. 25. They added three more comeback wins in April - an 8-4 victory over Boise State on April 8 at home, a 12-7 comeback win at Nevada, Reno on Friday, April 14 and a 7-4 victory over Colorado State on April 22.
On Thursday, Feb. 16, Dodd picked up her 100th career win in a 8-7 win over Northern Iowa at home. All of her career head coaching wins have come at UNLV, while she became the fourth coach in program history to reach the 100 win mark.
Janine Petmecky's walk-off home run against Weber State on Friday, Feb. 17 was the first for UNLV since former Rebel Garie Blando hit on in a 6-5 victory over Mountain West foe New Mexico on March 27, 2015.
Fourth Inning Says It All: So far, if the Scarlet & Gray can find themselves ahead or tied on the scoreboard after four innings, there's a good chance they will go on to win the game. Currently, they are 21-4 when they accomplish that feat. On the other hand, they are just 2-19 when trailing after four innings.
Senior transfer Brianna Gatlin has made a significant impact in her first and only season as a Rebel. She has reached based safely in 38 of 46 games - a team-high this season. She recorded a seven-game hitting streak - tied for longest of the season - during the first 14 games of the season and safely reached base in the first 17-straight games -- the longest on-base streak of any Rebel this season. She leads the team in several offensive categories including batting average (.350), hits (48), runs scored (28), doubles (12) and triples (2) while she is second in RBI (25) and home runs (4). She ranks tied for third in doubles, 13th in on-based percentage (.440) and tied fo 13th in the Mountain West.
In addition to Gatlin, two other transfers, sophomore Kiley Harrison and junior Alyssa Navarro, have been strong additions. Harrison has made 39 starts, the majority at catcher, while Navarro has started 45 of 46 games as the regular first baseman. The two have combined for 53 hits, 23 runs scored and 35 RBI. Navarro also leads the team with five home runs and has the top RBI game of any Rebel after recording five RBI in a 7-6 win at Colorado State on April 21.
The freshmen also continue to make their mark this year. Mara Kemmer and more recently Reina Bondi have led the way. Kemmer, who is currently out with an injury, has spent time in both right field, at designated player and in the circle as a dual threat player for the Rebels. In her first year, Kemmer is second on the team with a .327 batting average and is tied for third in hits (33) and tied for fourth in runs scored (17). She's also made 15 appearances in the circle with five starts. After losing her first decision, she won three starts in a row. She currently has an overall ERA of 4.24 and 21 strikeouts. She picked up her first career collegiate win on Saturday, March 4 against Utah Valley, going 4.0 innings and giving up just two runs. Bondi has made 13 starts in her first collegiate season and has become a stolen base specialist as she has gone 9-for-9 in stolen base attempts. Justine Federehas also seen significant time in her first year, starting 28 of the 34 games she has played in, looking particularly comfortable at the plate, hitting .298 on the season with 25 hits, five doubles, nine runs scored and 11 RBI.
Petmecky, fellow junior Jade Yadao-Valdez and sophomore Myranda Bueno have led the way among position player returners. During March, Petmecky went 20-of-55 (.363), with four doubles, seven runs scored and eight RBI. Overall, Petmecky has had a solid year, hitting .326 with 46 hits, 27 RBI and 17 runs scored. Bueno is fifth on the team in batting average (.308), tied for third in hits (33) and second in runs scored (20) while starting 41 games in center field. Yadao-Valdez has also been one of the most consistent players on the team, hitting .308 with 32 hits, 18 runs and seven RBI while owning the hot corner on third base.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE The Aztecs are currently fourth in the Mountain West, sporting an overall record of 26-17 and a 10-8 mark in league play. They dropped two of three to Utah State in their most recent series, but had won their last three Mountain West series prior to that. San Diego State has relied on its high-powered offense this season as they currently rank first in every major offensive statistical category, including batting average (.353), slugging percentage (.509), on-base percentage (.414), runs scored (274), hits (431) and runs batted in (250). The stats in the circle aren't as impressive as they are middle of the pack on that side of the ball, ranking fifth in ERA (3.63), eighth in opposing batting average (.312), sixth in hits allowed (367), fourth in runs allowed (180) and sixth in strikeouts (159). With their offensive numbers, it's no surprise that the Aztecs have a couple individuals leading the way in the conference. Jenavee Peres has the top batting average (.432) and slugging percentage (.813), has the most hits (60), runs batted in (52) and home runs (14) while she is second in runs scored (47). Teammates Zaria Meshack and Katie Byrd have also been solid a the plate, with Meshack ranking third in the conference in batting average at .419 and Byrd fourth in runs scored with 36. Meshack and Byrd also rank in the top-10 in hits at fifth and tied for eighth, respectively. SDSU's top performers in the circle are Erica Romero and Marissa Moreno. Romero has the top ERA at 3.09 with an 8-5 record overall while Moreno is 10-5 with a 3.72 ERA.