Rebel Win Downgrades Golden Hurricane
March 23, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - UNLV softball (14-18) knocked off the 18th-ranked Tulsa Golden Hurricane (25-6), 10-6, on Saturday afternoon at the Rebel Classic. After staking itself to a four-run lead - 5-1 after three innings, UNLV watched the Golden Hurricane pull within one score on two occasions, but each run was matched one by one in those frames.
The victory was the third for the Rebels this season over a nationally-ranked foe. The last time a UNLV softball team had three or more wins over Top 25 competition was in 2005. The '05 edition won four en route to making a trip to the NCAA Tournament that season.
UNLV's offense was spurred by its 3-4-5 hitters and their combined 7-for-8 effort at the plate. The trio produced all six RBI and scored seven of the team's 10 runs. Pauline Monreal scored twice in the game, but made her biggest contribution with the bat. Monreal went 2-for-2 with an RBI single and another going down in the books as a three-run home run. Tayler Aleman led the team in both hits (three) and runs (three) while going 3-for-4. Tayler Van Acker scored twice and was a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish. Van Acker added an RBI to her resume off a sacrifice fly.
In the circle, Amanda Oliveto picked up her 12th win of the season and second of the weekend. Oliveto went the distance for the 16th time this season and allowed six runs, two of which were earned, off of 10 hits. She struck out four, but walked four, as well.
TU struck first in its first at-bat with assistance from a two-out error. Samantha Cobb, who initially reached on an errant throw by Aleman at short, scored from first when Lacey Middlebrooks hit an RBI double to right.
UNLV countered in the bottom half of the frame with back-to-back RBI singles. Aleman stepped to the plate with Stefany Valentino and Van Acker standing on third and second, respectively, after the pair registered infield singles. Aleman promptly atoned for her earlier slipup with a single up the middle. Valentino scored with ease while Van Acker took third. Aleman wound up at second after she advanced on a throw to the plate. After Van Acker was picked off third, Monreal hit a single to right to plate Aleman and give UNLV the lead for good.
Monreal extended UNLV's lead to four runs with a monstrous, third-inning blast off Tulsa starter Caitlin Sill (2-3) over the outer fence of Eller Media Stadium in the third. Van Acker and Aleman scored on the dinger after they had reached via walk and base hit, respectively.
The visitors from Green Country attempted to get their offense going in the fourth, but a double play ended the threat. TU loaded the bases behind a double, a single and a walk. After recording the first out, Oliveto got Cassidy Bowen to hit a grounder to Jaexie Balilea at third. Balilea then fielded the ball, stepped on third and threw to Van Acker at first for the inning-ending play.
Tulsa pulled within one when it scored three times in the fifth - all unearned runs - when it got help from a wild pitch and a two-run single by Haley Henshaw.
With the score 5-4 in UNLV's favor going into the bottom of the fifth, TU made a call to the bullpen and brought Middlebrooks in to relieve Sill. Middlebrooks didn't fare so well, as UNLV quickly loaded the bases with one-out singles by Van Acker and Aleman and a walk by Monreal. Following a strikeout, Alyssa Cordova hit a single up the middle, but TU's centerfielder Caitlin Everett misplayed the ball and let it roll to the center field fence. All three base runners scored on the play, and Cordova was credited with two RBI.
The two teams exchanged two runs apiece in the sixth. TU got a solo homer from Bowen and an RBI single by Cobb before UNLV got some help from another error by the Golden Hurricane defense. Emilie Valadez led off the stanza with an infield single before Valentino hit into a fielder's choice. TU third baseman Jill Barrett fielded Valentino's grounder and went to second with the play, but her throw was wide of her teammate and it sailed to the fence in right. Valadez easily scored from second while Valentino motored to third base. Van Acker plated her two batters later with a deep sacrifice fly to left-center.
Sill was saddled with the loss after going 4.0 innings in the circle. She allowed five runs off of seven hits with two walks against one strikeout. Middlebrooks threw 2.0 innings and gave up five runs (two earned) off of four hits. She struck out one and walked one.
Although the Rebel Classic still has two games left to play - a doubleheader between Boise State and Tulsa, UNLV will not play against until a four-game road trip to Colorado this upcoming week. The Rebels will play a non-conference contest against Northern Colorado on Wednesday, March 27 (4:00 pm MT/3:00 pm PT) prior to a Mountain West series at Colorado State on March 28-30.
In Saturday's earlier games, Texas Tech and Boise State split a doubleheader. Tech won the first game, 3-2, before BSU claimed the second meeting, 4-2.