He controls the game until the very last pitch—a big job, to carry the game score on your shoulders. The crowd is cheering, but he blocks it out, and it’s almost silent, as the game is carefully paced out, hoping to strike his next opponent, teasing him with direct eye contact across the field to the mound showing no fear of his next pitch.
He breathes in the crisp ballpark air, searching for his pitching signal from his catcher at the plate.
Strike one… Strike two… Strike three.
The batter is out walking to the dugout with signs of defeat. Noah Carabajal earned the win with seven innings pitched and nine strikeouts in the 7-1 victory against the Reno Wolf Pack.
It is his first win of the season after transferring from Long Beach State back to his hometown, Las Vegas, in the Fall semester of 2022, leading to one of the biggest successes of his career.
“Noah,” His coach said as they loaded the bus back to UNLV, “you’ve been named Mountain West Pitcher of the Week.”
Baseball has been a part of Noah Carabajal ’s life since he was 3-years-old and knowing the lifelong effort paid off after his first win of the season was an exciting time for Carabajal and his team.
“I was stoked. I didn’t expect it,” the humble junior pitcher said after hearing the news following his big game. “It was a good feeling knowing that the work I had put in had paid off.”
“My dad was a big influence on me growing up,” Carabajal said. “He was a big baseball player, pushing me to play baseball. My brothers played baseball for a little bit so there was a bit of family competition growing up, and my dad was really the backbone of my start-up. He was a big coach for me growing up and a big mentor for me all my life, and a big driving force of why I play.”
Carabajal also acknowledges the immaculate feelings he has being able to play in his hometown and represent his city through his sport.
”Growing up here, I used to go to UNLV basketball games all the time with my dad and I would look up to these athletes,” Carabajal said. “It’s really cool now to be in their shoes, performing on and off the field and just being a good Las Vegas citizen.”
But not only is it a great feeling to be a role model for kids looking up to him on the field now, but he also has his dad, his role model, watching him and cheering him on in the stands with pride in the ball player his little tee baller has become.
Carabajal lives on the field most of the time practicing and mastering his talents of the game, but when he’s off the field, he is home studying for his sociology degree, or spending time with his teammates and creating a bond with them.
“We have a lot of fun on and off the field,” Carabajal said.
When Carabajal and his teammates are on the field, they are learning valuable lessons about the game and life.
“You have to be short-minded,” Carabajal said. “You go out there and give up a couple of runs in an inning and you just have to remember that as a starter you have to go back out there, so one inning shouldn’t sway how you feel about the rest of the game, and just worry about that next pitch.”
Out on the “field of dreams,” anything is possible for the Rebels.