ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV softball was on the verge of winning its first conference opener since 2014 Friday night at Lobo Softball Field, but New Mexico had other plans as the Lobos used a seventh-inning walk-off grand slam to take game one 5-2. The Rebels fall to 17-8 on the season and 0-1 in the Mountain West, while New Mexico moves to 7-19 overall and 1-0 in league play.
After the game entered the seventh in a 1-1 tie, the Rebels grabbed their first lead in the top half of the inning on freshman Mia Trejo’s second RBI. Senior Janine Petmecky came back out in the bottom of the frame needing three outs for her eighth straight win, but a bases-loaded home run by the Lobos’ RBI leader Chelsea Johnson ended that streak on the walk-off for the home team. It was only Petmecky’s second loss this year as she moves to 10-2 overall.
UNLV is now 7-12 all-time in Mountain West openers since joining the league in 2000 and 3-6 in conference openers on the road.
THE TURNING POINT: In the top of the seventh, Justine Federe singled with one out and reached third after a passed ball and a Petmecky single. That brought up Trejo, who had tied the game on a solo home run back in the fourth inning. She delivered again with an RBI single to put the Rebels up 2-1. Senior catcher Brooke Stover singled after Trejo, but pinch runner Breana Burke was thrown out at home to end the inning. In the bottom half of the frame, Petmecky gave up a one-out single, then put the next two batters on with a hit by pitch and a walk. Next up was Johnson, who had a Lobo-best 16 RBI this season, and she sent a shot over the center field wall for the walk-off grand slam.
STAT OF THE GAME: The walk-off and the grand slam were both firsts allowed by the Rebels this season.
QUOTABLE: Head coach Kristie Fox –
“There are a few things we focus on defensively, offensively and in the circle and we did not do any of those consistently today. We have some adjustments to make and need to come out ready to compete tomorrow, but this team has shown they can bounce back.”
* UNLV has a 17-8 record through the first 25 games, marking the best start since the 1996 squad went 20-5.
* UNLV falls to 7-12 in Mountain West openers and 3-6 in MW road openers
* As a freshman, Trejo has been one of the most consistent players this season. She is currently third on the team in batting average (.348), is second in RBI (13) and tied for first with three home runs
* The loss ended a streak of seven straight wins for Petmecky, who moved to 10-2 on the season.
UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: Game two at Lobo Softball Field is set to begin at 11 a.m. PT Saturday, March 17.