UNLV took care of business as the Rebels won two out of three games in its series over the weekend against the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Game One, April 6
The Rebels 20-17 overall and 6-6 in Mountain West began the series on fire Thursday evening. Alanna Thiede pitched a no-hitter in a dominant Rebel victory over Fresno State 15-22 overall and 4-5 Mountain West in an 8-0 victory called after five innings by a mercy rule.
The first two innings were all defense for both sides as the Bulldogs and Rebels remained scoreless. A combined total of five strikeouts were recorded as each side struggled to find any offense.
Despite the slow opening innings, the third inning was merely the start of the bats beginning to connect and run up the score. Sophomore infielder Ariana Martinez led the way with the slugfest as she hit a two-run homer to give the Rebels a 2-0 lead.
As UNLV entered the bottom of the fourth, the runs continued to stack up. Martinez batted in three out of the five runs scored in the fourth inning. Head Coach Kristie Fox, who is in her sixth season with the program, said “She [Ariana] has been really locked in. She’s seen the ball really well, and teams have made the option to not even pitch to her.”
Martinez was not the only game changer, senior pitcher Alanna Thiede stepped up big time as she pitched a no-hitter. Thiede recorded four strikeouts while allowing only three to reach base. Martinez said, “Amazing,” when describing Thiede’s earned winning pitching performance in the 8-0 victory.
Game Two, April 7
The Rebels clinched a series victory defeating the Bulldogs 5-4 on April 7. Junior pitcher Ellie Zellien earned her sixth win of the year improving her record to 6-4 and senior pitcher Allana Thiede recorded her second save of the season.
History repeats as the first two innings were scoreless, and five combined total strikeouts were recorded between the Bulldogs and Rebels.
UNLV’s third inning was the difference as the offensive side abruptly rose up and scored four runs. The Rebels’ successes were recorded as four runs, four hits and two left on base.
The Bulldogs, unlike the game a day prior, were able to fight back and close the gap. Although the fourth inning was split even with a scored run a piece, the 5-1 lead was diminished as the Bulldogs scored two runs in the top of the fifth.
As momentum carried over from the fifth inning, the Bulldogs continued its success and brought the score within one as they trailed, 5-4.
The score remained the same as Thiede and the defense for UNLV was able to withstand the momentum from the Bulldogs to win the game 5-4.
Game Three, April 8
UNLV dropped the final game of the series 8-5 to the Bulldogs. Taylor Gilmore was credited with the win for the Bulldogs improving her record to 8-5.
UNLV began the last game of the series right where it left off the day before.
Sophomore infielder Martinez faced a 2-1 count as she smashed a pitch to left center for a three-run homer. The Rebels retired the first inning with three hits and a lead, 3-0.
The defense stood strong through four innings for the Rebels, until the Bulldogs’ senior infielder Vanessa Hernandez hit a solo home run. The Bulldogs’ bats came alive during the fifth inning with six hits. The Bulldogs took the lead for the first time this series in the top of the fifth, 5-3.
Although the Bulldogs went on an incredible scoring spree, UNLV’s Martinez answered with her 11th home run of the season, which was another two-run homer, to tie the ball game.
With a 5-5 score at the beginning of the sixth inning, junior outfielder Keahilele Mattson bombed a three-run homer to reclaim the lead for the Bulldogs.
Entering the seventh inning with the score 8-5, UNLV quickly retired in the top of the seventh looking to make a comeback and sweep the series against the Bulldogs. Despite great efforts, the Rebels were unable to outscore the Bulldogs in the final game of the three-game series.
UNLV softball packs up and goes on the road to San Diego to take on the Aztecs 23-11 overall and 7-4 in conference in a two-game series.
The doubleheader begins on April 12 at 4 p.m.