UNLV Baseball kicked off its season this past weekend with a four-game series against Michigan State at home, falling to the Spartans 3-out-of-4 games.
Game 1: Opening Night
To kick off the season, Erick Fedde, pitcher for the Washington Nationals and a former UNLV Baseball pitcher was welcomed back to throw out the first pitch.
Fans packed the stands as Josh Ibarra stepped up on the mound to pitch for the Rebels Friday night and would later be credited for the win after throwing four strikeouts in five innings.
In the opening inning, the Scarlet and Gray got on the board first after a scored run off an RBI from Austin Kryszczuk.
The next three innings would be scoreless, until the Spartans tied the game off a single run in the fifth. In the bottom of the fifth, the Rebels would reclaim the lead after back-to-back RBI’s from Henry Zeisler and James Gamble brought the Rebels to 4-1.
At the top of the ninth, Michigan State was only able to score once more handing the Rebels the 4-2 victory. This victory marked the second consecutive home opener win for UNLV.
As a team, the Rebels batted .235, with Gamble leading the team with a .667 average. The team had eight hits with zero errors in comparison to the Spartans’ eight hits and three errors.
Game 2 and 3: Double-header
Saturday’s contest against the Spartans was the only double-header of the season for UNLV, as they began game two of the series in the early afternoon.
In the bottom of the second, UNLV got off to an early 2-0 lead but in the top of the third Michigan would tie it after hitting a two-run homer.
In the fifth, Michigan State would take its lead after scoring two runs, putting them up 4-2. UNLV’s Diego Alarcon would answer back with the first home run of the season which would score two runners, tying the game once again.
A triple RBI by Gianni Horvat in the sixth would send Eric Bigani to score and a hit by Rylan Charles would send Horvat home to put the Rebels up 6-4.
In the top of the seventh, the Spartans would go on to score five runs off of three hits before sealing their first victory in the series by scoring again at the top of the ninth. Michigan State won 10-6 to even the series before the second game of the double-header.
With a short 45 minute break, the teams returned to the field to play game 3 of the series. Michigan State jumped to a 5-0 lead after scoring four runs in the second inning and one in the third inning.
UNLV would go scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when a 2 RBI allowed Horvat and Bigani to run home, closing the gap 5-2.
Rylan Charles hit a homer in the seventh closing the gap even more before Michigan State would go on to score five runs in the eighth.
With the Rebels down 4-12, Jordan Andrade would hit his first homer in the eighth followed by two scored runs by Chalres and Enrique Bennet in the ninth, despite the late comeback UNLV would fall 12-6, giving the Spartans the series lead.
Game 4: Series finale
For a chance to tie the first nonconference series of the season, UNLV returned Sunday afternoon for the final game against Michigan State.
The Spartans quickly scored four runs off three hits to open the game and scored one more in the second inning putting them up 5-0. In the bottom of the second, the Scarlet and Gray answered back by scoring three runs off three hits to close the gap.
In the third, Hank Zeisler would hit his first career home run to put the Rebels down by only one run. UNLV took the lead in the fifth after a home run by Cole Andavolgyi which would also score Zeisler.
The Spartans reclaimed the lead in the eighth, after scoring three runs off of five hits to make it 9-7. A homer and an RBI in the top of the ninth would seal the game four win for the Spartans and the series win.
Charles led the team with three hits and 2 RBI’s followed by Alarcon and Zeisler who had one hit and one RBI each.
Despite losing the series, UNLV still holds the all-time series record of 7-6 against the Spartans.
The Rebels will now hit the road for a tournament featuring the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors and the San Diego Toreros for a three-day contest held in San Diego from Feb. 25-27. UNLV will return home to play Utah on March 1, first pitch is set for 2:05 p.m.