Paradise Product: Hustlin’ Rebel Gavin Mez

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Gavin Mez and Eric Bigani posing for a photo before the Rebels game against Air Force. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, Gavin Mez spent the majority of his life growing up in Las Vegas where he fell in love with baseball. 

“Honestly, just being with the team is one of my favorite parts about playing,” Mez said. “ All the relationships made and all the memories made, it makes playing so enjoyable. All the trips for away games, and seeing the results from the hard work- I like that. I like the whole aspect of all the memories.” 

A 2021 graduate of Bishop Gorman High School, Mez lettered all four years in baseball, but it wasn’t the only sport he played at the time. 

With Gorman having a top football program in the Valley, Mez decided to play for his first two years of high school as a middle linebacker and fullback in hopes of becoming a more well-rounded athlete. 

During his time on the football field, he earned the Football JV Coaches Award. His junior year, he quit football to focus on baseball. 

“My most important year in high school was definitely my freshman year and just making varsity that first year and actually getting the chance to play,” Mez said. “That was a big deal at the time and it set me up for every year after that. I worked hard for it, so I was excited to be able to accomplish lettering all four years for sure.” 

Throughout high school, Mez managed to improve his batting average every year: hitting .315, .366, and .465 in his last three seasons. 

He was named 2019 Varsity Baseball MVP and 2021 Varsity Mr. Gael, along with being the Varsity Baseball Scholar Athlete from 2018-2021. 

Mez’ senior year at Gorman, he played 18 games for a batting

Overall for the 2020-21 season, Gorman went 19-1 overall and 10-1 in league play. Mez was ranked second in Nevada for his final season as a Gael. 

Mez joined the Hustlin’ Rebels his freshman year at UNLV for the 2022 season, along with Gorman teammate Santino Panaro. 

“[Santino] was my best friend in high school, so it was cool to be able to commit to the same college and go through that process together,” Mez said. “We also go to play summer ball together in Utah before coming to UNLV.” 

“It’s cool being able to go through the process with somebody that you’re so close to and have the same background as. It’s great having somebody there for you at all times.” 

As a Las Vegas native, Mez came full circle to play at the NCAA Division I level in his hometown. 

By coming to UNLV to play, he has been able to keep his high school fanclub as they’re all able to come out to the Rebels’ home games and watch Mez take on the opponents. 

“It was a big decision to come to UNLV, and I was excited to do that for my parents and for everybody who’s helped me,” Mez said. “Most of the kids from Las Vegas don’t end up staying here. I’m glad that I could stay.”

“There were a lot of people who helped me throughout the journey coming to UNLV and now they all can come out to the games. They’ll watch me and support me- whether it’s at the games or they’re looking at the stats online.” 

So far in the scarlet and gray, Mez has a batting average of .100 with 10 total at-bats and 8 game appearances. 

He earned his first hit and run for the Rebels during the final game against New Mexico where UNLV won 27-6. 

At the top of the eighth, Mez entered the game for a pinch hit for senior Eric Bigani. He hit a single out to right field, slowly making his advancements on the bases. 

Two batters later, Jay Sharman hit a single up the middle, allowing Mez to run home and score his first run of the season. 

Back in March, Mez made a start for UNLV in the game against Utah Valley on March 8 with a single at-bat where he struck out. 

“It was a cool experience seeing my name up on the board,” Mez said. “I took a picture of it and sent it to my parents… I was ready for the opportunity and I was happy to be able to get it.” 

As a freshman in the scarlet and gray, Bigani has taken Mez under his wing to show him the ropes. The two have quickly bonded and become close friends on the team. 

“One of the biggest things when I first started college was the older guys helping me out,” Bigani said. “It’s a really big part of freshmen development and I think he’s doing great. I think he’s going to be a really good baseball player.”

“He’s going to be a huge part of the team. I think when his name is called- he’s gonna do really, really good things for the team.” 

Mez looks forward to finishing out conference play with the Rebels strong as the season continues. 

Catch Gavin Mez and the rest of the Hustlin’ Rebels at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on April 14-16 as they take on San Jose State for one more series before Easter. 

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