Softball: Rebels squander opportunity against Fresno State
With the Mountain West title still in sight, the UNLV softball team’s (22-27, 12-9 MW ) chances at the crown got much slimmer on Sunday after its bats went cold against Fresno State (28-18, 12-6 MW).
The Rebels dropped the series after they managed just four hits in their 1-0 loss on Sunday at Bulldog Diamond Stadium in Fresno, Calif.
This was only the third time the Rebels were shutout this season, and their first time in conference play.
UNLV and Fresno State are the top two hitting teams in the Mountain West, but they both struggled at the plate with a combined average of .159. Pitching dominated the games as it held the squads to a total batting average of .232 in the three-game set.
Fresno State got the first break when a fielding error by Jaexie Balilea gave the Bulldog runner an easy run home for the first and only score of the game.
UNLV tried to mount a comeback in the final innings, but failed to convert. The Rebels led off both the sixth and seventh innings with singles, but runners were stranded at second base in both frames. Third baseman Jamie Depippo tried to knock in the tying run in the seventh, but was thrown out at first to end the game.
A week after scoring 22 runs in the series with San Diego State, UNLV was held to just four runs over the weekend.
Fresno State boasts the top ERA in the conference at 2.69, and one of their top pitchers Jill Compton (18-8) recorded her eighth shutout of the year and her third win of the week.
Compton is second in the Mountain West in ERA behind her teammate Hannah Harris.
In 23.2 innings of work Compton gave up only one earned run off of just nine hits. The one earned run she gave up led to the lone Rebels victory of the series on Saturday.
Amanda Oliveto (12-14) had another good effort in the circle for the Rebels. In six innings, she gave up one run, none earned, off of four hits. Oliveto gave up no earned runs in 14 innings of work over the weekend.
UNLV batting leader Stefany Valentino extended her hitting streak to a team best 21 games. Valentino, Depippo, and Garie Blando were top 10 in hitting in the conference, but went a combined 9-for-29 over the weekend.
The series loss drops UNLV to fifth in the Mountain West Standings, with only three conference games left in the season, and moves Fresno State into sole possession of first place. The set at Fresno State was the last time the Rebels have to travel this season.
The Rebels will need to win out the conference to have any chance at the championship.
UNLV will take a quick break from conference opponents, when the Rebels take on Oregon State (13-28, 3-15 Pac 12) in a two-game set beginning on May 3. The Beavers will come to Las Vegas losers of 11 of their last 13 games.