UNLV Softball ends Desert Classic strong after back to back losses

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Jenny Bressler pitching during the Rebels opening night against BYU, UNLV won 5-3 against the Cougars. Photo by Jordan Anders-McClain.

UNLV Softball sweeps the Kansas City ‘Roos after unexpectedly losing the first two opening games against the Weber State Wildcats.

Vs Weber State, Feb. 18

The Rebels suffered a tough 6-5 loss against Weber State in their Desert Classic tournament opener. 

The Wildcats were able to score first, driving in two who reached on base with balls with two outs.

In the bottom of the fourth, UNLV third baseman Lauryn Barker stepped up to the plate. Barker entered the game trying to break her 0-for-11 slump. 

“[Barker] put in some work this week,” UNLV head coach Kristie Fox said, “made a couple of adjustments, trying something a little bit new. After that first at-bat, she just needed a little reminder to compete at the plate, and good things happened.”

UNLV was able to regain the lead in a late-innings rally, but Weber State was able to do the same thing after right fielder KC Whiting doubled to lead off the seventh inning. 

“We learn lessons from today. We left way too many runners on base. Too many strikeouts against that kind of pitching and too many walks to their batters.” Fox said. 

The Rebels could not get their runners home as they left 11 baserunners, including five in scoring position, as the Rebels batted seven hits and drew six walks.

Ariana Martinez tried to get the wheels rolling in the bottom of the seventh with a solo home run, but Weber State pitcher Mariah Ramirez pitched three straight fly outs to secure their 6-5 win.

Vs Weber State, Feb.19

After what the Rebels hoped to start off the clean new slate with a victory, instead they were handed a 6-1 loss against the Wildcats Saturday evening. 

“The biggest thing for me is that I saw fear in my team that I hadn’t seen in a really long time,” Fox said, “so we need to figure that out, there is no room in a game of failure to play scared. It’s all about building confidence at this point.”

Weber State McKell McCuistion and Chloe Camarero hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the second to put the Wildcats up 4-1 on the Rebels.

UNLV struggled offensively, as they were unable to get any real spark going. Weber State held them to just four hits and four walks.

It was not until the sixth inning, they loaded the bases but were unable to capitalize to drive them home.

Vs Kansas City, Feb.19

The Rebels came back out onto the field with determination in their eyes, defeating Kansas City 4-3 with an incredible walk-off double to the right center-wall from Mia Trejo.

Pitcher Jenny Bressler ended Saturday night with 8-of-31 strikeouts. When she raised her eight strikeouts, it crossed her into 400 career strikeouts and moved into the fifth spot on UNLV’S career strikeouts list. 

The Rebels were able to get the lead early with a solo home run by Janyssa Martin in the third. 

April Visser found her swing off a home run to give the Rebels the lead in the fourth inning. 

“[Visser’s] pressing, she wants to do really well, she knows, she saw her fall, she’s trying to duplicate that,” Fox said. 

The Rebels were hungry for more, as Visser extended the lead even more with a double in the fifth to drive in Mia Trejo. 

Kansas City’s Katelyn Garcia was able to score from an abnormal wild pitch by Bressler in the seventh inning. 

Mia Trejo walked up to the plate, danger to Kansas City was upon them. The senior first baseman batted 3-for-4 and knocked in Janyssa Martin for the winning run.

The Rebels earned their first win of the Desert Classic over Kansas City for a 4-3 victory. 

Vs Kansas City, Feb. 20

UNLV Softball closed out the weekend with an incredible 11-7 win over Kansas City.

On Sunday evening, the girls came out hot in the first inning with batting through the order to get a 3-0 lead. 

“More focused, not chasing as much, we really pressed after the first game against Weber, we had some better at bats,” Fox explained as their approach to the plate was with more drive this time around.

The Rebels had a season-high of 16 hits in 32 at-bats. 

Sofia Morales batted 4-for-5 with two runs from the leadoff position and Trejo and Visser each hit home runs, batted in three runs and scored two apiece.

Kansas City cut into UNLV’s 9-2 lead with five runs in the top of the sixth against UNLV’s Jasmine Martin, but was relieved by Bressler, who earned her seventh career save.

The Rebels did not break a sweat and were able to fight off Kansas City who were trying to slip back up. 

Visser got things going in the sixth with a solo homerun over left-field. 

Barker kept things going by driving in Samantha Diaz with a two-out single. UNLV extended the lead back to 4 runs and eventually walked away with an 11-7 victory.

Up Next

The Rebels travel to Lake Charles this weekend for five games at McNeese State’s tournament. The first game on Feb. 25th at 2:45 p.m. against Sam Houston to open the series.

“I look forward to seeing how they handle the moments on the road, the time change, and being in a hotel,” Visser said. “It’s going to be exciting for us. It’s (assistant) Coach Emily’s (Vincent) hometown, so I know we’ll get a lot of hospitality.”

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