Rebels Pop Colonels, Lose To Tar Heels

March 9, 2012

Final Stats

LONG BEACH, Calif. ( - The UNLV Rebels (10-11) split their pair of games Friday in the Long Beach State Invitational held at the 49er Softball Complex. UNLV was shut out by #24/23 North Carolina (16-6) by a 5-0 score, before things turned around in a 6-1 win over the Eastern Kentucky Colonels (6-8).

The victory over the Colonels snapped UNLV's four-game losing streak that was extended with the UNC loss.

UNLV's offense was led by two-hit efforts from Jaexie Balilea and Paige Emerson. Balilea paced the team in runs (two) and RBI (two), as well. In all, five Rebels recorded an RBI on the day.

In the circle, Jessica O'Connor threw six innings against EKU for her fourth win of the season. Amanda Oliveto pitched a total of seven innings on Friday. Oliveto dropped to 6-6 with the loss to UNC and had a no-decision in one frame of relief against EKU.

Against UNC, the Tar Heels jumped out to a quick one-run lead and never looked back. The Tar Heels added four runs to their tally in the second to push the lead to five and close out the day's scoring.

Kelli Wheeler led off the game with a single to right and moved into scoring position following a sacrifice bunt. Wheeler then scored from second on an RBI double by Logan Foulks.

UNC added to its lead in the second with four scores off of four hits and an assist from a Rebel error. The inning began just like the first with a single followed by a sacrifice bunt. Another single put runners on the corners before Wheeler hit a grounder to third that was misplayed by Samantha Juarez and allowed the lead runner, Jordan Scarboro, to score from third. Amy Nece and Foulks added to the scoreboard with two more singles. Nece's brought it one run, while Foulks plated two.

Both teams had an opportunity to score later in the game, but each had a runner thrown out at the plate. In the third, Juarez made her way to second base after a dropped third strike and a throwing error all by Foulks behind the plate. Juarez took third on another passed ball, but was thrown out at the plate on a suicide squeeze attempt by Elena Fata. UNC had a runner thrown out at the plate in the fifth, as well.

Lori Spingola (11-5) picked up the win in complete-game fashion for UNC behind a no-hit effort. Spingola allowed only three runners with two reaching via walks and another off a dropped third strike. She struck out 13 against one walk.

Amanda Oliveto (6-6) was saddled with the loss in six innings of work, as she gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. Oliveto struck out three, but walked one.

Against EKU, Balilea got the Rebel offense going with a solo homer in the second inning. She knocked in the second run of the game with an RBI single that plated Tayler Van Acker, who led off the inning with a walk issued by Leanna Pittsenbarger (4-4).

Balilea's fourth-inning hit ended Pittsenbarger's day in the circle and brought Shaylon Robb in for relief work. With runners on first and second, Kylie Wagner doubled down the line in left to score Emilie Valadez, who had entered as a pinch runner at second base. Heather Harrison stepped up with runners in scoring position and hit an RBI single to center that scored Balilea. Paige Emerson closed out the four-run frame with a run-scoring single through the left side to score a pinch-running Katie Uriarte.

EKU got one run back off a dropped fly ball. Melissa Costa led off with a bunt single before O'Connor got two quick outs. A deep fly by Raquel Howes was mishandled by Emerson in center and allowed Costa to motor around from first for the score.

UNLV pushed its lead back to five with a single tally in the fifth. Kristin Perry entered the circle for the Colonels and gave up a single to Van Acker and a walk to Aleman before Pauline Monreal hit an RBI single to right.

O'Connor (4-4) allowed an unearned run on seven hits. She struck out four against two walks.

Pittsenbarger was handed the loss in 3.1 innings of work. She gave up four runs (three earned) on two hits with three Ks and one walk.

UNLV is back in action Saturday against Pittsburgh (12:30 pm) and Cal State Fullerton (3:00 pm). Both games will be contested at the 49er Softball Complex.