Early Run Holds Up In Rebels' Rubber-Match Win
April 14, 2013
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) - The UNLV Rebels (18-23, 4-5 MW) blanked the New Mexico Lobos (19-26, 3-6 MW) on Sunday afternoon in the rubber match of their Mountain West softball series at Eller Media Stadium. UNLV scored once in the first inning and never looked back, as hurler Amanda Oliveto tossed a complete-game, four-hit shutout.
In fact, Oliveto did the same thing two days ago in the opening game of the conference set on Friday night. In that initial outing, she only struck out two batters against one walk. On Sunday, she one-upped herself by striking out eight and not allowing a walk to any batter wearing Cherry & Silver hued uniforms.
Oliveto has now thrown back-to-back shutouts for the second time in her career. She achieved the feat once before when she tossed consecutive no-hitters - March 27 vs. Cal Poly and April 1 vs. Seattle - in 2011.
The game's only run came off the bat of Tayler Van Acker - a line drive single to center field - in the opening frame. Stefany Valentino, who went 3-for-3 on the day with a double and two singles, led off with an extra-base hit to center that dropped in safely after UNM's centerfielder Mariah Rimmer and righerfielder Cassandra Kalapsa collided on the fly ball. Valentino then moved to third on a bunt single by Emilie Valadez, who ended up on second when the Lobo defense fell asleep on the continuation of the play. Van Acker followed with a screamer past the head of Kaela DeBroeck (6-7) in the circle for the decisive base hit.
Valentino scored with ease from third before Rimmer's throw home to catcher Naomi Tellez got Valadez out in an attempt to score from second.
The Lobos scattered four hits with single tallies occurring in the first and second innings and two more coming in the third - their best opportunity to score in the game. They got a lead-off double by Jordan Sjostrand and a single by Courtney Geith to put runners on the corners. A sacrifice bunt pushed Geith into scoring position before Rimmer was plunked by Oliveto to load the bases. The Rebel hurler buckled down and got the next two batters out via an infield fly and a strikeout.
Including those pair of outs in the third, Oliveto managed to retire 14 of the next 15 batters - seven strikeouts, three groundouts, two pop outs and one line out. The lone blemish in the span was an error that fell after the seventh out.
DeBroeck allowed one run off of five hits en route to a loss in six innings of work. She struck out four against one walk. After giving up the only run of the game, she only allowed three base runners - two hits by Valentino and a walk to Katie Uriarte - the remainder of the affair.
UNLV jumps out of conference play with a doubleheader next Saturday, April 20 in Fullerton, Calif., against the Cal State Fullerton Titans. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm at Anderson Family Field.
NOTES: All three games of this weekend's series against UNM resulted in shutouts ... The last time UNLV has played three consecutive shutouts was early in 2007 - 8-0 win over UCF (Feb. 16), 10-0 loss to Northwestern (Feb. 17) and 8-0 loss to UCLA (Feb. 17) ... UNLV increased its lead in head-to-head meetings against UNM to 43-27 dating back to 1988 ... With Sunday's win, UNLV has now won 23 of 31 head-to-head meetings against UNM in Las Vegas ... UNLV has won 13 of the last 14 in Las Vegas.