UNLV takes the series opener 3-0 Thursday night at Eller Media Stadium
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – The UNLV softball team was glad to home Thursday night in the friendly confines of Eller Media Stadium, where the Rebels got back on track with a series-opening 3-0 shutout victory over San Jose State (27-15, 7-6). The win snapped a two-game losing skid for UNLV, who improved to 6-0 in Mountain West series openers in 2019.
The Rebels, now 28-11 and 9-6 in Mountain West play, moved ahead of the Spartans into third place in the league standings, just a half game behind UNR and three and a half games behind No. 25 Colorado State. UNLV also ended a three-game losing streak to SJSU, who swept the Rebels in San Jose a year ago.
Freshman Jenny Bressler and the Rebel pitching staff bounced back with the shutout after allowing 25 runs in its last five games, four of which resulted in losses. Bressler pitched 6.1 scoreless frames, giving up just three total hits before giving way to junior Breana Burke, who got a double play in the seventh to seal the victory.
UNLV’s offense was just enough, playing small ball early to grab the lead, then using a Mia Trejo home run and a Kiley Harrison pinch-hit RBI single for insurance runs. It was Trejo’s career-high eighth home run of the year.
THE TURNING POINT: With one out and runners on the corners in the bottom of the second, sophomore CC Caccamise dropped a surprise bunt for the squeeze, catching the Spartans off guard and allowing freshman Statia Cermak to score from third for the 1-0 lead. The next inning, Trejo launched the ball over the left centerfield wall to make it 2-0 and knock the wind out of a SJSU team that has not been particularly explosive on offense this season. The final dagger came in the bottom of the sixth, when Cermak smacked a double to left center and reached third on an error by the centerfielder. Head coach Kristie Fox then sent senior Kiley Harrison up to pinch hit, and she delivered with a single to left to score Cermak for the 3-0 lead.
STAT OF THE GAME: In its six Mountain West series-opening wins in 2019, UNLV has outscored its league opponents 43-10, which includes three shutouts.
REBEL OF THE GAME: Bressler seemed to return to early season form Thursday night, scattering just three hits over the 6.1 innings of work. After the Spartans knocked two hits off of the freshman in the first, the right-hander didn’t allow another hit until SJSU led off the seventh with a single. Bressler, who had allowed 14 runs over her last three starts, picked up her fifth shutout and 17th win of the year.
UP NEXT: UNLV will be going for the series win Friday in game two. First pitch is at 4 p.m. PT.
* UNLV now leads the all-time series over SJSU 45-25
* UNLV has yet to lose more than two games in a row this season; their longest losing streak of two games has happened just three times all year
* UNLV has allowed three runs or fewer in 26 of 39 games, while it was the ninth time a Rebel pitcher has allowed under four hits in a game
* Trejo has now hit at least one home run in five of six Mountain West series. The sophomore’s homer Thursday gave the Rebels’ 27 total for the year after hitting just 20 in 53 games in 2018
* Trejo has been impressive during conference play, hitting .465 (20-for-43) with 22 RBI, two doubles, a triple, five home runs, 12 runs scored and 14 walks
* Pinch hitting continues to be productive strategy for Fox and the Rebels, who are hitting .323 in those situations this year. Harrison is now 5-for-12, including Thursday’s RBI single in the sixth
* UNLV needs five wins to match last year’s total of 33 with 11 regular season games still left to play, while head coach Kristie Fox needs five wins to reach 200 total in her head coaching career
* UNLV committed one error on the night, marking just the 25th in 39 games
* Rebels have outscored its opponents 206-94 in 2019