Rebels Fend Off Wildcats, Matadors

March 1, 2013

Final Stats

LAS VEGAS ( - The UNLV Rebels (7-10) started the second month of the 2013 season on a good note with a 6-0 blanking of the Weber State Wildcats (0-11) followed by a 4-2 win over the Cal State Northridge Matadors (6-13). Friday's victories give UNLV a 2-0 start to its Eller Media Stadium Classic and more importantly, the Ws snapped a seven-game skid it carried into this week.

The Rebels hit .288 on the day with six of their hitters registering at least two hits and .286 or better batting averages. Jaexie Balilea (3-for-6), Tara Woodall (2-for-4) and Katie Uriarte (2-for-4) all registered .500 hitting clips with Alyssa Cordova following closely behind with a .400 showing (2-for-5). Tayler Van Acker, who hit .333 (2-for-6), led the team in RBI with three while Balilea was tops in runs with three.

In the circle, Amanda Oliveto (6-4) started both contests and threw a combined 9.0 innings while registering a 0.00 ERA and one win - Weber State - and one save - Cal State Northridge. Oliveto struck out eight against five hits and one walk. Stefany Valentino (1-2), on the other hand, made two relief appearances and tossed 5.0 innings. Valentino allowed two runs off of six hits for a 2.80 ERA for the day. She walked three, but fanned one.

Against WSU, the Rebels struck first with a run in the bottom half of the inning off an RBI single by Van Acker. Balilea got the offensive going with a one-out double to right-center. She moved to third following a groundout prior to Van Acker's hit.

The score remained 1-0 in UNLV's favor until it tacked on five more tallies in the sixth behind a four-hit effort. After the first out had been recorded, Pauline Monreal doubled to the gap in right-center and scored one batter later when Katie Uriarte hit an RBI dribbler through the right side of the infield. UNLV then got a fielder's choice and a walk to held juice the bases before Tara Woodall stepped up in a pinch-hitting capacity and delivered a two-run single to extend the lead to 4-0. With runners in scoring position, Valentino was inserted to pinch it, and she quickly delivered an RBI single up the middle. Following a slew of defensive changes by the Wildcats, the Rebels loaded the bases, once again, only to get a walk issued to Van Acker to cap the scoring.

Oliveto fanned seven Wildcat batters and allowed four hits and one walk in her stint in the circle before giving way to Valentino's one inning of shutout ball.

Against CSUN, UNLV gave itself a three-run cushion after the first inning of action. Valentino and Balilea began the game with a walk and a single, respectively, before an RBI single from Van Acker. Valentino scored off Van Acker's hit while Balilea joined crossed the plate one batter later when Heather Harrison had a run-scoring single. Cordova added the third run when she hit a sacrifice fly to score Van Acker from third.

The Matadors got their offense going in the fourth and fifth innings when they cut the Rebel lead to one after scoring once in each stanza. Sydney House factored in both of the runs for CSUN. House began the fourth with a single before coming home on a Ariana Wassmer double. In the fifth, she was credited with an RBI off a double of her own to score Crystal Maas.

Balilea got one run back for UNLV with a solo shot to deep left to extend the lead back to two runs at 4-2.

Valentino, who entered in the contest in the third inning, saw her defense - primarily Monreal and Van Acker - turn a F83 double play to end the inning before Oliveto threw a scoreless seventh for her first save of the year.

UNLV returns to action Saturday at 3:45 pm (DePaul) and New Mexico State (6:00 pm). Three games will take place before the Rebel pair. Weber State and NMSU open up the day at 9:00 am followed by DePaul-CSUN at 11:15 am and WSU-NMSU at 1:30 pm.

In Friday's earlier action, DePaul defeated NMSU (6-1) and Weber State (13-2) while CSUN beat NMSU (4-3).

Notes: With the win over Weber State, Oliveto became only the sixth Rebel hurler to separately notch 40 wins and at least 350 strikeouts in a career ... She moves into ninth overall in starts tying Stephanie Bregante (2007-10) with 69 apiece.