LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV softball won its third straight game and its fourth in its last six with an 8-0 five-inning victory over Utah State in its Mountain West home opener Friday night at Eller Media Stadium. The outcome marked the second straight game the Rebels have finished off its opponent in five innings and their second shutout in the last three games.
With the win, UNLV improved to 20-8 overall and 3-1 in league play, while Utah State fell to 10-16 and remained winless in conference play at 0-4. The Scarlet and Gray’s 20-8 record is the program’s best since the 1996 team had the same record through the first 28 games, while the 3-1 mark in conference play is its best league start since the Rebels went 4-0 in 2014.
Senior Janine Petmecky has bounced back from giving up the walk-off grand slam a week ago in a big way, allowing just one run on five hits in her last 10.0 innings pitched to pick up her 11th and 12th wins of the season – a new career high.
Offensively, it was again a total team effort with all nine starters recording at least one hit – the first time that’s happened this season – while seven Rebels drove in at least one run. Sophomore outfielder Reina Bondi had a career night as she went 3-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored. Senior catcher Brooke Stover continued her stellar season at the plate, knocking in one run and going 1-for-3 to extend her hitting streak to seven games.
THE TURNING POINT: The Rebels took control early with two runs in the opening frame. Bondi sparked the rally with a one-out single, which was followed by a Justine Federe double down the left field line that brought Bondi all the way home from first. With two outs, Stover delivered with her own RBI double and it was 2-0 after one. The Scarlet and Gray never looked back after that, scoring two more in the second, one more in the third and three more in the fourth to get to eight.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Petmecky stifled the Aggies over five innings Friday, giving up just three hits while striking out four in her fourth shutout of the season. The right-hander lowered her Mountain West-leading ERA to 1.28 and now has a career-high 85 strikeouts this season.
STAT OF THE GAME: The Rebels scored as least one run in every inning and got at least two across the plate in three of the four innings. Each Rebel in the lineup recorded at least one hit. Both were firsts for UNLV this season.
Head coach Kristie Fox -“We did a really good job of preparing this week. With our at-bats we carried over the success we had late in New Mexico and came into the box today really confident and they looked really comfortable at the plate. People stepped up and we executed, so I was really impressed with our offense being able to get a run in every single inning, because that’s always a goal. Defensively, I thought the team did a really good job. Janine was hitting her spots, getting ground balls and getting some key strikeouts for us. Her job is to let them put it in play and for us to make the plays and for the most part we did a really good job. Their [Utah State] game is speed, so if we can keep them off the bases, good things are going to happen for us.”
* UNLV has a 20-8 record through the first 28 games, marking the best start since the 1996 squad also went 20-8 through the first 28 games. The 3-1 MW record is its best start since the 2014 team went 4-0 to begin league play
* Since joining the MW in 2000, the Rebels are 8-11 in their conference home openers
* With 20 wins, the Rebels are just five shy of matching their season total in all of 2017 with 21 regular season games left to play. If they can get to 30 wins this season, it will mark the first 30-win season since 2010
* UNLV has won three straight and four of its last six. The Rebels have also shut out their opponents in two of the last three games
* After having one run-rule victory all of last season, the Rebels already have four this season, including two in a row
* Senior Brooke Stover extended her hitting streak to seven games, while Mia Trejo extended her on-base streak to 11 straight
* Petmecky already has career highs in win, innings pitched and strikeouts and is responsible for four of the Rebels’ six shutouts this year
* The Rebels’ 14 hits were second-most in a game this season
UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: Game two between the Rebels and the Aggies is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. at Eller Media Stadium.