LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – After two straight weekends on the road, UNLV softball returns home for the final weekend of non-conference play, hosting the Rebel Classic, March 8-11. Eller Media Stadium will play host to 12 games between Thursday night and Sunday, with the Rebels set to take on DePaul, top-ranked and undefeated Washington, New Mexico State and Portland State twice from Friday to Sunday. The tournament opens Thursday night with a game between New Mexico State and DePaul at 6 p.m.
Last weekend UNLV went 3-2 at Grand Canyon’s Lopes Up Classic, with wins over Princeton, Valparaiso and Grand Canyon and losses to South Dakota and Valparaiso in a second matchup. Now at 14-6 on the season, the Rebels are off to their best start through the first 20 games since the 1996 squad started 15-5. It also marks just the seventh time since the first year of the program in 1985 that UNLV has started at 14-6 or better.
Senior right-hander Janine Petmecky continued her stellar final campaign in Phoenix, pickin up all three wins on the weekend. In her two starts she gave up just two runs on six hits while striking out 20 in two complete game performances. Against Valparaiso Saturday, Petmecky struck out a career-high 12 a week after setting a then career high of 10 in a 3-0 win over Yale in Houston. She has struck at seven or more batters in each of her last four starts and leads the Mountain West with a 1.21 ERA.
It was another team effort at the plate as 11 different Rebels recorded hits, with nine getting as least three or more. The effort was led by sophomore Justine Federe, who went 7-for-17 (.412) with three doubles, two runs scored and seven RBI. The second baseman is hitting .500 (9-for18) with runners in scoring position, while her 19 RBI leads the team and ranks tied for third in the Mountain West this season.
The Rebel defense continues to be a strong component of the hot start for UNLV as they have committed just 10 errors through 20 games and their .983 fielding percentage leads the Mountain West and ranks eighth in the country.
UNLV’s first game of the weekend is set for Friday, March 9 at 3:45 p.m. against DePaul, followed immediately by a game between the Rebels and the undefeated Huskies of the University of Washington at 6 p.m.
The Rebel Classic marks the final tournament of the non-conference slate, with UNLV beginning conference play on the road at New Mexico, March 16-18.
RANKING THE REBELS
• Mountain West: Overall UNLV sits top the MW in ERA (2.60) and fielding percentage (.983), while ranking sixth with a .283 batting average. The Rebels are second with 151 hits and are fifth with 80 runs scored. Rebel pitchers are second in the conference in innings pitched at 140.0 and strikeouts (104) and are fourth in opposing batting average (.256). Individually, Justine Federe’s 13 runs scored are tied for fifth, while her 19 RBI are tied for third. In the circle, Janine Petmecky’s 1.21 ERA is first, her .195 opposing batting average is fourth and her 58 strikeouts are second.
• NCAA: UNLV is eighth in the country in fielding percentage (.983)
• UNLV’s 14-6 record is the program’s best since the 1996 squad went 15-5 through the first 20 games. It also marks just the seventh time since the program’s first season in 1985 that the Rebels have started 14-6 or better.
• Most recently, the Rebels went 3-2 at GCU’s Lopes Up Classic in Phoenix, suffering their first loss on a Friday and first loss on a Sunday during the 2018 season.
• UNLV has only committed 10 errors in 20 games this season, has 11 games without an error and has just one game where they have committed more than one.
• If the Rebels can score first and/or gain the lead by the fourth inning, there is a good chance they will win the game. They have yet to lose when they score first and are 11-1 when they are leading after four innings.
• Rebels have only lost once when they’ve out-hit their opponent at 9-1, but are 4-5 when out-hit by their oppoents.
• UNLV is hitting .309 with runners in scoring position, while its opponents are hitting just .238 in those situations.
• Sophomore Justine Federe was huge at the plate in Phoenix, hitting .412 with seven hits, three doubles, two runs scored and seven RBI. She leads the team with 19 RBI this season and is hitting .500 (9-for-18) with runners in scoring position. Federe is currently hitting .317 with six doubles, a team-best 13 runs scored and five multi-RBI games.
• Senior Janine Petmecky picked up all three of UNLV’s wins in Phoenix to bring her record to 8-1 on the season. In the three wins, including two complete games, she pitched 15.2 innings, allowed three earned runs and struck out 20, including a career-high 12 against Valparaiso Sunday.
• The Rebels already have two come-from-behind extra-inning walk-off wins this season (6-5 over Buffalo in the eighth inning on Feb. 16 and a 3-2 walk-off win over North Dakota State on Friday, Feb. 9) and added a third comeback win in Houston with a 6-5 win over UTSA thanks to a three-run top of the seventh
• UNLV has four shutouts on the season, with Petmecky responsible for three of them
• Junior Myranda Bueno entered the tournament in Houston leading the Rebels with a .441 batting average and 15 hits and was tied for first in runs scored (9) and doubles (3). She also had a 10-game hitting streak.Unfortunately, Bueno suffered a facial injury in the weekend opener and will be out indefinitely
• Senior catcher Brooke Stover has been strong offensively in 2018, hitting .308 with three doubles and nine RBI and has the second-most multi-RBI games this year
• The Rebel pitching staff has a combined 2.60 ERA, which leads the Mountain West. Petmecky leads the way with a 1.21 ERA (first in the MW), an 8-1 record and 58 strikeouts (second in the MW). The senior has given up just seven earned runs in 52.0 innings pitched
Live stats for all five games are available on the Softball schedule page on www.UNLVRebels.com. All five games will be livestream with the link also available on the schedule page. Live updates can also be found by following @UNLVSoftball on twitter.