No. 5 Air Force sneaks by No. 6 UNLV in Record-Long MW Tournament Game
RENO, Nev. – In the most innings ever played in a single game in Mountain West Baseball Championships history, No. 5 Air Force got by No. 6 UNLV 4-3 in extra innings to advance and eliminate the Rebels from the 2015 tourney. The game went 15 innings, a new record for the MW Championships and just two innings short of the overall MW record of 17.
Spencer Draws and Tyler Saleck led the offense for the Falcons. Draws brought home two in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game at 3-3 and Saleck went 4-for-5 at the plate with a run. Trent Monaghan, Ben Yokley and Jacob Devries combined for the Air Force record-tying 15 inning performance for the Falcons, with Devries getting the win.
DeVries also picked up a bat during the game when Air Force lost the designated hitter position due to an injury to second baseman Russell Williams in the 10th inning. He got the Falcons into scoring position in the 14th with his lone single in the game but they were not able to capitalize.
“Very excited that Cadet DeVries came in today,” said Mike Kazlausky, head coach for the Falcons. “He was supposed to start tomorrow, but we get to live another day. Our pitching was great all day.”
UNLV got the scoring started when Joey Armstrong walked, Joey Swanner singled and Erik VanMeetren doubled to bring home a run in the first inning. A sacrifice fly from Payton Squier brought home Swanner, giving them an early 2-0 lead.
The Rebels tacked on a security run in the top of the eighth on Air Force’s only error of the game to bring the advantage to three.
Air Force surged in the bottom of the eighth, loading the bases with one out. Adam Groesbeck grounded out to second, driving Saleck home in the process to give the Falcons their first run of the game. The very next at-bat, Spencer Draws singled to right field, bringing Travis Wilkie and Williams home to tie the game 3-3. Neither team could score in the ninth inning, which sent the game into extra innings.
Heavy rain started falling at Peccole Park before the bottom of the 11th began, delaying the game 17 minutes. When the teams returned to the field, they exchanged scoreless innings until the bottom of the 15th.
The Falcons loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 15th. A fielding error on the first baseman brought Groesbeck home from third for the final 4-3 score.
“We never lost the fight,” said DeVries. “We kept battling.”
Rebel starter Blaze Bohall tied a career high with 7.1 innings pitched and struck out three batters.
Air Force will play the lowest-seeded loser of this afternoon’s San Diego State versus Fresno State and Nevada versus New Mexico games tomorrow at 11 a.m. PT.
Follow all the action from the 2015 Mountain West Baseball Championship on TheMW.com.