Rebels Suffer Losses On Opening Day
Feb. 10, 2012
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV Rebels (0-2) started off the 2012 campaign in the hole behind back-to-back losses to the #5/6 Oklahoma Sooners (2-0) and the Weber State Wildcats (2-0) with final scores of 5-0 and 11-5, respectively.
A quartet of Rebels scattered at least two hits on the day with Stefany Valentino leading the group with four of her own. Valentino had three singles and a double besides knocking in an RBI and scoring once.
The first game of the day featured a pitcher's duel between UNLV's Amanda Oliveto (0-1) and OU's Keilani Ricketts (1-0). The two hurlers kept the offense at bay through four innings of action. Unfortunately, the Sooners' offense awoke during the final three frames.
OU scored the eventual game-winner in the fifth on a run-scoring double by Jessica Shults. The Sooners tacked on three tallies in the sixth behind a two-run double by Lauren Chamberlain, who later scored on a throwing error. The fifth and final run crossed the plate in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Brittany Williams.
Through the first four innings both squads combined to leave four runners on the bases with each stranding two in scoring position.
Ricketts picked up her first win of the season behind a three-hit shutout and 16 strikeouts, which placed her atop the program's career list in that statistic.
Oliveto was saddled with the loss in 5.2 innings of work. She was touched for four runs (three earned) on eight hits. She struck out four, but walked five.
Jessica O'Connor relieved Oliveto in the circle and pitched the final 1.1 innings and gave up a run and a hit.
The nightcap against Weber State was a bit more offensive with the teams combing to score 16 runs off 24 hits.
The Wildcats spotted themselves a 6-0 lead through their share of at-bats in five innings of play. An RBI single by Ashley Huddleston got the scoring started in the second stanza before a three-run home run off the bat of Sarah Clark in the third pushed the cushion to five runs.
After a scoreless fourth, the teams put five runs on the scoreboard in the fifth. Huddleston notched her second run-scoring single of the game before the Rebels got four scores of their own. Heather Harrison got things going with a lead-off single to left center. Emilie Valadez then entered to pinch-run for Harrison and sped around the bases on a double by Korin Cuico. Kelsie Vallies (1-0) then issued a walk to Elena Fata that prompted the WSU head coach to summon Morgan Allaband from the bullpen. Allaband was promptly called for two illegal pitches that allowed Cuico to score and place Fata at third prior to Valentino's RBI single to left. Valentino took second on another Allaband illegal offering, which caused Vallies to reassume pitching duties. A double by Tayler Van Acker brought Valentino home and pulled the home squad within two. A third pitching change in the inning put a stop to the Rebel rally when Clark came in from left field to pitch, and got the third and final out.
The momentum appeared to be shifting to UNLV, but WSU had none of it, as the visitors scored five more times on five hits. A three-run dinger by Lyndsey Minnich capped off the Wildcats' scoring in the inning after runs were scored off a double and a single.
In the seventh, the Rebels got consecutive doubles from Tayler Aleman and Van Acker to get one run back, but Clark closed out the inning without any more damage done.
O'Connor (0-1) was hit with the loss to WSU in only 2.1 innings of action. She allowed four runs on four hits, and walked one.
Vallies earned the win for the Wildcats after throwing 4.1 innings. She was touched for three runs off of four hits. She struck out two and walked five.
Clark notched her first save of the season in 2.1 innings of relief. She struck out four, but allowed a run off of four hits.
UNLV returns to action Saturday evening at 6:00 pm against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The second day of the Sportco Kick-Off Classic begins at 9:00 am between CSU Bakersfield and Weber State.