UNLV Baseball wins its home opener series against Bradley

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UNLV No. 5 JP Hefft attempts to tag out Bradley player who steals for second base. Courtesy of UNLV Athletics/DJ Cabanlong.

UNLV Baseball won in its home opening series of the 2024 season against Bradley University.

The Hustlin’ Rebels carried the momentum from the hot start of the campaign on the road in Northern California, going (4-1) against Pacific University and No. 23 Stanford.

Game One

UNLV Baseball defeated the Bradley University Braves in its first regular season game at Earl E. Wilson Stadium 9-3 on Feb. 23.

Austin Cates earned the win, tossing four strikeouts in six innings of work, giving up eight hits and three earned runs.

The middle of the Rebels’ lineup put them ahead early, with Kade Higgins getting in scoring position with a lead-off double and Austin Kryszczuk bringing him home in the following at-bat with an RBI double.

Logan Delgado put the Braves on top with a 2-run homer in the top of the fourth inning to make the score 2-1. The two-run shot was the first homer for the team this season.

The Rebels knotted up the game 2-2 in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out double by Paul Myro IV that brought home Kryszczuk. At the backend of the play, the Braves caught Myro IV in a pickle, which ended the inning.

UNLV’s offense found its rhythm in the bottom of the fifth inning, scoring five runs from four hits. It started with a 2-RBI triple by J.P. Hefft, followed by Parker Schmidt bringing him home with a pinch-hit single. Higgins put the Rebels up 7-2 with a 2-run homer.

The Braves attempted to climb back into the game with a two-out RBI single by Michael Mylott; however, the Rebels had too much firepower on the mound and at the batter’s box for Bradley to handle.

Jesus Gonzalez entered the game at the top of the seventh inning and got the remaining nine outs, holding the Braves scoreless.

The bats also finished off strong for UNLV, with Chase Ditmar hitting a 2-RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to put the Rebels up by six. 

Gonzalez earned the save, and the Rebels took game one of the series 9-3.

Game Two

The Rebels extended their winning streak to five games, defeating the Braves on Feb. 24 in game two of the series, 4-1.

Albert Roblez earned the win, giving up three hits and one earned run in 6 2/3 innings on the bump. Roblez finished with five strikeouts and walked one batter.

Kryszczuk brought the jolt the Hustlin’ Rebels bats needed in the fourth inning, breaking the 0-0 tie with a 2-run homer. Kryszczuk finished the day swinging 1-3, bringing home three of the Rebels four runs scored.

In the backend of the fourth inning, the starting pitcher for Bradley, Travis Lutz, completely lost command, hitting three batters hit by the pitch in a row, including hitting Alex Pimentel on the helmet. 

All three pitches were unintentional, bringing up Chase Gallegos with the bases loaded and two outs. With the bases loaded, Lutz found his command again, striking Gallegos to get out of the jam.

Higgins extended the Rebels lead to three with a single to right field, bringing Schmidt home.

Durbin put Bradley back into the game late, hitting an RBI double that drove home Jackson Chatterton to make the game 3-1 score going into the seventh inning stretch.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Rebels executed well on the basepaths with runners on the corners with one out. Hefft was on third, Schmidt was on first, and Higgins was up to bat. Schmidt stole second on the 0-1 pitch that was a strike. 

Matthew Maloney entered the game from the bullpen to relieve Roblez, and he finished the inning without allowing the Braves to put up a crooked number on the scoreboard.

With the 0-2 count with one out, Bradley intentionally walked Higgins to make the bases loaded to have a force play at any base. 

Kryszczuk, in his at-bat, put the ball on the ground; however, the Braves could not convert on the double play, resulting in Hefft scoring.

Maloney shut down the Braves for the remainder of the game, giving up zero hits and no earned runs to earn the save.

The 4-1 victory clinched the Hustlin’ Rebels series win over the Bradley Braves.

Game Three

Read the remainder of this article on unlvscarletandgray.com

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