The Hustlin’ Rebels, 14-17, head back on the road after winning three games in a four-game home stand. The Rebels first leg of its California road trip would be against the Loyola Marymount University Lions 17-14.
The Rebels took game one on April 10 by a score of 12-8 and won the second and last game against the Lions this season on April 11, 16-5.
With the series win, the Rebels have now won seven of its last nine games, and they also snapped Lion’s three-game winning streak after sweeping the University of Portland on the road.
GAME 1, APRIL 10
The series’ first game was set as the Rebels were beginning to hit its stride at the midway point of the season, but the LMU Lions had also stormed back recently to move to a winning record.
The first game featured a pitching matchup between the Rebels southpaw Josh Sharman (3-1) and Lion’s right-handed David Watson (0-1).
This would be Josh Sharman’s second consecutive start away from Earl E. Wilson stadium as he took on the Air Force Falcons on the road in his most recent appearance.
He would record the win in that outing boasting a 4.5 ERA and giving up seven hits and two runs in four innings of work.
Watson would be seeing his first start of the season as the team faced the difficult decision to make the first game of the series a bullpen game.
Heading into his start, Watson held a current ERA of 11.08, as he had yet to see a lot of success early on in the season. In his nine relief appearances, Watson had also not gone for more than two innings.
At the start of the game, the Lions pounced on top of the Rebels early, taking a 1-0 lead after the first inning as Sam Biller doubled home Khadim Diaw for his only hit.
However, this would not be the case for long as the third inning of the game marked the longest outing of Watson’s season; the Rebels would get to him, taking a 4-1 lead.
The runs came off of five Rebel base hits led off by Sharman, who recorded his first triple of the season before being driven in by Noah Rodriguez for his second RBI of the season.
The Rebels did not take the foot off the gas pedal as the game entered the fourth inning as Rylan Charles recorded an RBI of his own, driving in Noah Rodriguez on a single to right center to make the score 5-1.
The Lions did not go away quietly, as in the bottom of the fourth inning, they would add another run to make the score 5-2 as Dylan Dennis would single home DH Connor Blough.
However, the story of this game was the contact the UNLV lineup was able to make. The Rebels had five hits in the following two innings and received eight total baserunners as they added to its lead by 9-2.
In the bottom half of the sixth inning, Cole Roberts hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Blough in the Lions comeback to make the score 9-3.
The Rebels held on to the lead for the rest of the game. The team added a few more runs before the game’s conclusion and allowed Nolan George, Nick Rupp, and Zack Simon to pitch after Josh Sharman would go 5 2/3 innings for the win.
The Rebels would improve to 13-17 with the 12-8 win over the Lions in game one of the series.
GAME 2, APRIL 11
The second game of the series was a path set for revenge for the Lions as it looked to take an even draw in the two-game set.
This second matchup would allow the Lions to have one of its young starters, freshman Chaz McRoberts, take the mound for his first start and seventh overall appearance.
Before entering this start, McRoberts conceded just two runs in four innings of work and had not thrown for longer than an inning at a time as the team looked to ease him into the bullpen.
On the other hand, the Rebels would look to the veteran lefty out of the bullpen in Noah Mattera. In his junior year.
In his last three starts, Mattera pitched four and two-thirds innings and gave up 12 runs, resulting in two losses during that stretch.
This game, like its predecessor, got off to a very quick start as the Rebels would bring home the first run of the ball game off a passed ball that got by the catcher Khadim Diaw to make the score 1-0.
The Lions, however, would respond in the bottom half of the inning as Benny Cassillias sent a ball to center that was dropped by Rylan Charles, allowing Andrew Nykoluk to score and tie the game 1-1.
The game remained close, but the Rebels continued to chip runs across the board in both the third and the sixth inning, making the score 6-1, highlighted by a double off the wall in left field by third baseman Edarian Williams.
Only in the seventh inning could the Lions get back in the scoring column, but it showed off its power hitting two back-to-back home runs from pinch hitter Jared Thomas and center fielder Devan Ornelas.
Those two homers would be the only ones the Lions hit in the series, but it made the score close at 6-4 heading into the eighth inning.
However, this would be when the Hustlin’ Rebels would show off its offensive capabilities, putting the game far out of reach during the eighth, scoring ten runs while scoring 16-4.
The eighth inning was highlighted by a grand slam from Williams that would bring home four runs and a Rylan Charles shot over the right-field fence, adding two more to the already sizable lead.
Despite the Lion’s effort in the rest of the ball game, they would fall by a score of 16-5 and take a step back as its record now sits at 17-14, while the Rebels added another win moving to 14-17.