UNLV Baseball finishes weekend with three straight road wins

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Hayden Neirman pitching during the final game of the series against Michigan State. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV Baseball defeated San Diego and Hawaii to sweep the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament after a rough home start to the 2022 season. 

vs San Diego, Feb. 25 

The Rebels edged out the University of San Diego by withstanding a ninth-inning threat to win its first road game of the season by a final score of 2-1. 

Josh Ibarra took the mound for UNLV and kept the Toreros off the scoreboard for the first five innings, allowing just two hits and two walks in the process. Not a single Torero baserunner managed to reach second base under his watch. 

Ibarra exited the game after 84 pitches. 

Nick Rupp made his first career appearance donning scarlet and gray, and limited San Diego to one run over the final four innings to secure his first save.

Diego Alarcon provided all the run support Ibarra and Rupp would need. The hot corner-specialist went 2-for-5 on the evening, scoring both Rebel runs. 

Alarcon gave UNLV the lead in the sixth inning with a solo home run to left field, his second homer of the season thus far. 

Henry Zeisler getting ready to bat against Michigan State during UNLV’s four-game series against the Spartans. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

After the power display, Alarcon’s speed took center stage in the top of the eighth. He lined a full-count offering the opposite way for a single to right field, and advanced to second after the right-fielder misplayed the ball. 

Alarcon then took third base on a wild pitch and scored what would be the game-winning run on Henry “Hank” Zeisler’s sacrifice fly.

Rylan Charles (.478 BA) reached base three times for UNLV with a pair of hits and a walk, successfully fulfilling his role as table-setter of the lineup. The Rebel bats, however, would be unable to drive him home in this contest. 

vs Hawaii, Feb. 26

The Rebels combined three three-run innings in coasting past the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors by a final score of 9-3.

As part of the Tony Gwynn Legacy tournament, it was a game that featured all players on both sides wearing the jersey number 19 in honor of longtime San Diego Padres- and San Diego State-legend, the late MLB Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.

Troy Balko (0-1, 9.00) started the game for the Rebels and commanded the zone throughout the afternoon. 

The right-hander allowed just two earned runs over five innings, allowing five hits without issuing a walk, and punching out three.71% of his pitches landed in the strike zone as he exited with a no-decision.

Noah Beal (1-0, 3.24) entered in the sixth in relief and allowed no runs with just two hits in four innings of shutdown work to claim the victory.

UNLV capitalized in key moments of the game, as evident in the difference in opportunities with runners in scoring position. The Rebels went 5-for-13 in such instances, while limiting Hawaii to 1-for-10 in the same category.

Hank Zeisler got UNLV on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second inning after reaching on a walk, scoring from third on a wild pitch.

After being intentionally walked, Jason Sharman stole second base to get into scoring position. 

Sharman took off for second on an early steal as Hawaii’s Andy Archer brought his hands together for the set on the mound. 

The startled pitcher flinched, and the umpires called him for a balk, a pitcher’s violation that allows each baserunner to advance to the next base. 

Joey Walls, standing on third base during the play, was allowed to score uncontested.

Jordan Andrade stepped into the box looking to capitalize and add to UNLV’s tally with runners on the bases. Andrade punished Hawaii, driving a full-count RBI-single to right field, plating Sharman for the third Rebel run and an early 3-0 lead.

Hawaii mounted its biggest inning offensively in the fifth. The Warriors led off the inning with two singles and a double that drove in their first run of the game. A sacrifice fly followed by a two-out error tied the game 3-3.

Walls regained a 4-3 lead for the Rebels with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth.

Two batters later, Eric Bigani extended the UNLV lead to 6-3 with a bases-loaded two-run single up the middle.

Alarcon connected on a well-placed ground-rule RBI double down the right-field line to make the game 7-3 after the seventh-inning stretch. 

Austin Kryszczuk scored on a wild pitch before Edarian Williams’s RBI single gave the Rebels a definitive 9-3 lead.

vs San Diego, Feb. 27

Eric Bigani running to first base after hitting a ground ball during UNLV’s second game against Michigan State. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV Baseball completed its sweep of the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament with a 16-9 victory against the San Diego Toreros.

The Rebels had an eight-run explosion in the second inning to help bring home the sweep.

The Rebels blew the game open in the second inning, when Eric Bigani got the rally started with a two-run single through the left side giving the Rebels an early lead. 

Bigani also homered on the afternoon, finishing 2-for-5 with a team-high 5 RBI.

Multiple hits came from 7-of-9 starters for the Rebels with four having multiple RBI in the offensive zone of the game. UNLV as a team finished with a season-high 17 hits.

Austin Kryszczuk and Henry Zeisler each had 3 RBI for the Rebels. Zeisler’s heavy lifting came via a three-run bomb to left field that blew the game open at 11-2 in the fourth inning. 

Nolan George opened the game for UNLV and went for three innings, giving up only two earned runs. 

Josh Sharman worked a pair of frames, before Noah Mattera entered in the sixth inning with the lead in hand, qualifying him for the win, his first of the year.

Mattera lasted for three-and-a-third and into the inning, before giving way to Jimmy Gamboa, who got the final two outs of the contest.

Up Next

The red-hot Rebels return to Earl E. Wilson Stadium with a matinee matchup against the University of Utah on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 pm.

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