UNLV Baseball shows off its high powered offenses against Air Force Falcons

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UNLV No. 25 Ryan Charles runs for first base after a hit. Courtesy of UNLV Athletics/DJ Cabanlong.

UNLV Baseball experienced its share of ups and downs in the weekend series against the Air Force Falcons on April 5-7.

Game One

In the series’ first game on April 5, the Hustlin’ Rebels’ late-inning fireworks at the plate led them to win by a final score of 11-1.

The main storyline in this game was the starting pitching for each side, as both starters pitched past through the fifth inning during the series opener. 

Falcons starter Seungmin Shim finished with the loss after posting a stat line of five and two-thirds innings pitched while allowing three runs on five hits. Shim also recorded a total of nine strikeouts across his start.

Conversely, Rebels starter Austin Cates recorded his fourth win of the season and pitched a season-high eight innings, allowing only one run on seven hits. Cates additionally posted 11 strikeouts while only allowing one free pass across the 32 batters he faced.

Despite the loss, the Falcons recorded their first and only run in the second inning to open the scoring. 

With one out in the top half of the second inning, Falcons right fielder Jake Greiving stroked a double down the left field line before being brought home on the first pitch to shortstop Aerik Joe on an RBI single, giving the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

However, the Rebels answered right back in the bottom half of the inning. Mountain West Conference RBI leader Austin Kryszczuk recorded his team-leading seventh home run of the season, bringing his RBI total to 34 and tying the game 1-1.

Following the Kryszczuk homer, the Rebels added a pair in the sixth inning after the first two batters reached scoring position. 

The baserunners would eventually score after an RBI single from Parker Schmidt and a wild pitch out of the hand of Gaines Estridge, who came on in relief of Shim during the inning, giving the Rebels a 3-1 lead. 

However, the runs did not stop there for the Hustlin’ Rebels, as they posted five additional runs on the scoreboard in the seventh inning, and the Falcons’ bullpen began to fall apart late in the game. 

Alex Pimentel, Chase Ditmar, Rylan Charles and JP Hefft would all record RBIs during the inning, extending the Rebel lead to 8-1. 

Additionally, the Rebels scored three more runs in the eighth inning after Cates finished his night on the mound for UNLV, eventually leading to their 14th win of the season, 11-1. 

Game Two

While the second game of the series was also high-scoring, the result did not favor the Hustlin’ Rebels as the team’s record dropped below the .500 line in a 12-15 loss.

The storyline of this game was the game plan for the UNLV pitchers who came into the contest knowing that it was going to be a bullpen game in an attempt to rest the Rebel starters.

The middle game of the series featured a pitching matchup between Air Force starter Dylan Rodgers and Jordan Hanson for UNLV.

However, both of these arms did not last long as they gave up a combined 12 runs in a total of just over two innings pitched between them. 

Hanson finished his outing, allowing six runs on five hits after only completing one full inning and on the bump for the Rebels. 

Conversely, Rogers finished his day on the mound, giving up six runs on six hits while only getting through one inning in his seventh start of the year.

The squads scored 13 runs in the first two innings of play, with the Hustlin’ Rebels leading by 7-6 before entering the third. 

On the side of UNLV, Kryszczuk led the team with two RBIs in his first two plate appearances of the game after a single in the first inning and a double in the second. 

On the other side, the Falcons found their offense in the form of a two-RBI single from Greiving in the first inning and a two-run home run in the second inning from the Air Force second baseman Jay Thomason. 

Both teams went on a similar scoring run in the fourth and fifth innings, but this time, the Falcons scored seven unanswered to take a 13-7 lead into the bottom half of the fifth inning. 

The offensive explosion was powered by eight hits, including a home run from left fielder Zach Peters, who recorded two hits across six on the day. 

UNLV attempted to answer back in the fifth inning, and they successfully added to their run total as they pulled within three, making the score 13-10. 

Kade Higgins and Kryszczuk scored on wild pitches after reaching base safely, and Paul Myro IV tacked on the additional run with an infield single to the left side of the diamond. 

However, despite the Rebel’s efforts, including the second home run of the series for Kryszczuk in the sixth inning, UNLV failed to push a run across another run in the final three innings, falling by a final score of 12-15. 

Game Three

Read the full game article on unlvscarletandgray.com.

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