Rebels can’t overcome Clemson’s late surge
The UNLV baseball team (29-17 overall, 16-8 Mountain West) split a pair of games over the weekend in South Carolina, as the Rebels defeated James Madison 2-1 before falling in their first of two games against Clemson, 6-2.
For an offense that had been red-hot, UNLV’s bats cooled off dramatically. In six east coast games this season, the Rebels have only come up with 17 runs, a mere 2.83 runs per game.
Game one was more tightly contested than most had probably anticipated when UNLV took on the Dukes (15-28). The game was played amidst a wind storm as the two teams combined for only 13 hits and three runs. UNLV starting pitcher John Richy (8-3) was lights out, allowing only three more hits the rest of the contest.
Richy finished the contest by nabbing his fifth complete game of the year while allowing one run on six hits and striking out seven.
The game remained 1-0 through the eighth until Justin Jones scored on a wild pitch to tie things up for the Rebels.
After advancing to second on a wild pitch, McCallister advanced to third on a Joey Armstrong groundout.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, senior Patrick Armstrong stepped to the plate. The Dukes called for a shift, bringing their left-fielder in to have five players on the diamond that are willing to throw out the game-winning run.
None of that mattered as Patrick Armstrong took the 2-2 pitch over the right-fielder’s head for the walk-off single. For UNLV, it was the second walk-off of the season. The first came back on March 3 when Johnathan Torres hit a walk-off home run against UC-Riverside.
Jones and both Armstrongs finished the game with multiple hits, and Morgan Stotts continued his hitting streak since entering the starting lineup with a double he registered in the sixth.
Game two was not as eventful when the Rebels took on Clemson at Fluor Field, the home of the Boston Red Sox Triple-A affiliate, the Greenville Drive.
The Tigers struck first in the second inning, but UNLV answered in the third when McCallister doubled to open the inning, then scored two batters later on Jones’ sac fly.
The game remained tied through the next three innings until Clemson was able to strike again, this time plating three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh.
The Rebels could only muster to tack on one more run in the eighth, when Patrick Armstrong hit a double down the left field line, plating younger brother Joey. Patrick and Morgan Stotts led UNLV from the plate, each going 2-for-4.
On the mound, Bryan Bonnell (5-4) took the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in 5.1 innings pitched. Both Joey Lauria and Andrew Encinas made relief appearances.
UNLV wraps up its two-game set with Clemson Monday at 3:30 p.m. PT. Kenny Oakley (3-4) will get the nod for the Rebels and take on Jake Long (2-3). The game will be televised on MY LVTV (Cox channel 12) or DirecTV/Dish Network channel 21.