UNLV Baseball takes series over San Jose State Spartans 2-1

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Eric Bigani at-bat during UNLV's second game against Air Force, the Rebels swept the Falcons during the three-game series. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

The Hustlin’ Rebels hit the road for a three-game conference series against the San Jose State Spartans, taking the series 2-1. 

The Rebels had their undefeated conference record shattered in the second game of the series, losing 8-5 during a low performance game. UNLV now stands with an 8-1 record in conference play. 

Game One: March 25

In game one against the Spartans, Josh Ibarra would pitch the first four innings for the Rebels, throwing four strikeouts against 23 batters and giving up six runs on seven hits. 

Nick Rupp would later be credited the win for UNLV after pitching three innings of relief, including the first 1-2-3 inning for the Rebels in the bottom of the fifth. 

Josh Ibarra pitching during UNLV’s first game of a three-game series against Air Force, the Rebels swept the Falcons in the series. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

San Jose State would get on the board first in the opening inning, scoring one run on three hits. UNLV would jump to a 3-1 in the second after a double from Rylan Charles would bring home Santino Panaro, Braden Murphy, and Edarian Williams. 

The Spartans would reclaim the lead in the bottom of the second, scoring four runs on five hits. 

In the top of the third, the Rebels would regain the lead after scoring four runs in the third starting with Joey Walls’ fourth home run of the season. 

Robert Hamchuck would make it a one-point game for the Spartans, scoring an unearned run in the fourth, making UNLV’s lead 7-6. 

The turning point would come in the fifth when UNLV would score seven runs on four hits which began with Eric Bigani and Panaro being walked back-to-back to start the inning. 

With a 14-7 lead going into the final innings, the Rebels would hold off the Spartans after an attempted comeback by San Jose State. The Spartans added four more unanswered runs but the Rebels would take game one, 14-11. 

Game Two: March 26

After starting the season 7-0 in conference play, being the last undefeated team in the Mountain West, the Spartans would hand the Rebels their first loss during game two of the series.

The Rebels would jump on the board first after Austin Kryszczuk hit his 19th RBI of the season to send Charles to score the run. 

In the bottom of the first, Charles McAdoo would hit a home run to bring the Spartans ahead 1-2 over the Rebels. UNLV would tie it the next inning, however, after a single by Diego Alarcon would score James Gamble. 

With the game tied at 2, the Spartans would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs on two hits, taking a 2-5 lead. 

Williams would hit his first home run of the day in the top of the fifth to close the gap by three runs. San Jose State would go on to score three more runs through the sixth and eighth innings which would end their run total at 8.

In the top of the ninth, Williams would hit his second home run of the day and fourth of the season to conclude UNLV’s scoring at 5, sealing the Spartan’s 5-8 victory, and evening up the series 1-1. 

Troy Balko was given the loss after pitching three innings for the Rebels, allowing five runs off seven hits. 

Williams was awarded Rebel of the Game after going 2-of-4 at the plate with two home runs and three RBIs.

Game Three: March 27 

The Rebels would get on the board early in the opening inning during the final game of the series against the Spartans, scoring a run on an error by San Jose State. 

In the bottom of the first, the Spartans would answer back with two runs on three hits putting them up 1-2.

UNLV would tie it up in the second, scoring one run on two hits before taking the lead in the top of the third inning.

Top of the third, Henry “Hank” Zeisler singled to center field which would score Kryszczuk, giving UNLV a 3-2 lead. Alarcon would score soon after bringing the Rebels up by two runs. 

The Spartans would answer back in the bottom of the fourth, scoring one run off two hits, closing UNLV’s lead to 3-4. 

Diego Alarcon rounding first base on the way to second during UNLV’s second game against Air Force, the Rebels swept the Falcons in the three-game series. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

The top of the fifth would be the turning point for the Rebels as Alarcon would hit his fourth home run of the season which would score Kryszczuk and Charles bringing UNLV up 7-3.

“I was trying to drive something in the gap and pass the baton onto the next guy,” Alarcon said. “I saw a good pitch I could drive and put a good swing on it. Those guys getting on base is easy to overlook, I give a lot of credit to those guys putting the pressure on the pitcher to make a mistake.” 

San Jose State would score their final run in the bottom of the fifth off one hit, UNLV on the other hand, was not done scoring just yet.

With two outs in the top of the seventh, Braden Murphy singled which brought Zeisler and Walls to score, taking the lead up to five runs for UNLV.

In the final inning, an RBI base hit by Walls would score Alarcon making it a 10-4 lead for the Rebels. Eric Bigani would later hit an RBI double to bring home Walls and Murphy, sealing the victory for the Rebels 12-4 and series win. 

The Rebels are now 15-9 overall on the season and 8-1 in conference play. 

Up Next: 

UNLV will return home for a single-game contest against Arizona State University at the Las Vegas Ballpark, first pitch is set for 6:05 p.m.

General admission tickets are on sale for $20 and can be purchased at the door or at ticketmaster.com. Discounted tickets for students, seniors, and first responders can be purchased for $15  and are sold only at the Box Office. 

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