Rebels' Season Ends In Corvallis

courtesy of UNLV Athletics

CORVALLIS, Ore. - UNLV baseball (36-25) knew that if it wanted to keep its season alive, the Rebels would need to play flawless against Oregon State (44-13).

For five full innings, the Rebels did just that, going toe-to-toe with the top-overall seeded Beavers on Sunday at Goss Stadium.

UNLV’s starting pitcher Kenny Oakley allowed no runs on five hits in the first five innings, and left four OSU base runners stranded on base.

He looked to be on pace in the sixth inning, as he opened the frame with his fourth strikeout of the game, but Michael Conforto registered his first hit of the regional and the Oregon State fans came to life, giving him a standing ovation.

The next hitter, Dylan Davis, then reached on an error and Conforto moved to third. Conforto would score, unearned, when the next batter singled and Davis scored, also unearned, on a sacrifice fly that should have ended the inning.

The Beavers then recorded three consecutive hits, included a bases clearing triple, to score three more unearned runs.

UNLV looked to battle back in the home half of the sixth inning after A.J. Hernandez and T.J. White were each walked to lead off the frame. Joey Swanner then hit into a fielder’s choice that was misplayed by the Beaver shortstop, giving the Rebels a bases loaded situation. Patrick Armstrong drove in the only run of the game for UNLV by drilling a single to center field, scoring Hernandez.

The Beaver’s starter, Ben Wetzler, then recorded a strikeout for the first out and induced a double-play to get out of the inning.

That would be the end of the UNLV threat as only two more Rebels reached base in the game. OSU added one more insurance run in the eighth inning to take a 6-1 lead.

Oakley (4-8) took the loss despite not giving up an earned run in the contest. He allowed five runs on nine hits and struck out four without allowing a walk. Joey Lauria pitched 2.1 innings of relief and allowed one unearned run on two hits. Andrew Encinas and Cody Roper each saw action in the ninth inning and both recorded a strikeout.

Swanner, Pat Armstrong, Erik VanMeetren and Craig Shul each recorded a hit for the Rebels in the contest.

The loss signals the end of UNLV’s season, which included: a Mountain West regular season championship, its first NCAA appearance since 2005 and one of the best home records in school history