UNLV SOFTBALL NEWS: Rebels Drop Marucci Desert Classic Finale

UNLV loses the final game of the tournament 8-1 to Hawaii Monday afternoon to finish the weekend 4-2

Hawaii 8 UNLV 1 | @UNLVSoftball

LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) – UNLV softball dropped its final game of the Marucci Desert Classic at Eller Media Stadium with an 8-1 loss to Hawaii (5-2) Monday afternoon. The defeat moves the Rebels to 8-3 on the season after a 4-2 record over the weekend.

The Rainbow Wahine jumped out to the early 2-0 lead in the first on starting pitcher Breana Burke, then broke the game open with a five-run fourth on reliever Charlie Masterson.

Hawaii’s designated player Callee Heen did most of the damage with a pair of home runs and six RBI. Overall the Rainbow Wahine’s 15 hits were the most given up by UNLV all season.

The Rebels had their opportunities on offense, connecting on 10 hits in the ball game, but could only manage one run as they couldn’t come up with the timely hits when they needed them.

At 8-3, the Scarlet and Gray are still off to a strong start to 2018 as it is just the 11th time since 1985 they have started a season at 8-3 or better.

THE TURNING POINT: Trailing 3-1 and still within striking distance, Hawaii used a big fourth inning to pull away. After a Rebel error allowed one run to score and a Hawaii RBI single allowed another to come home, Heen was up at the plate having already hit a home run earlier in the game. Her second homer was a three-run shot to right, capping a five-run inning and essentially putting the game away.

REBEL OF THE GAME: Justine Federe continued her hot start to the season. The sophomore was responsible for the lone Rebel run of the game when drove a double to left center in the third inning, scoring Alyssa Navarro from second base. Federe leads the team with eight RBI on the year.

STAT OF THE GAME: UNLV managed 10 hits, but went just 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

QUOTABLE: Head coach Kristie Fox:

On the performance against Hawaii:
“I don’t think we came out very strong. It’s tough when you get behind right off the bat, but I think it’s a good learning experience for us. I saw a lot of positives in a not very good game for our club, so we’re going to build off the positive things and learn from the mistakes we made against a very strong Hawaii team.”

On how she will prepare the team for the first road trip of the season:
“We’re always focusing on ourselves, so we’ve got to get back to what we did in that first weekend – making sure our pitching staff is keeping the ball down and that our defense is making plays behind them and we come up with some clutch hitting. We got 10 hits and only one run, so we’ve just got to work on staying relaxed when we have opportunities with runners in scoring position.”

* Freshman first baseman Mia Trejo had an impressive weekend, going a team-high 7-of-17 (.412), while fellow freshman shortstop Samantha Diaz came also came up big at the plate, going 6-of-19 (.319) with her first two collegiate home runs, five runs scored and five RBI
* The 8-3 record through 11 games marks just the 11th time since 1985 UNLV has started a season at 8-3 or better.
* Fox’s 8-3 record through her first 11 games as the head coach is the best mark for a UNLV head coach in his/her first season
* Through 11 games, UNLV has committed just seven errors, while its opponents have committed 17
* The Marucci Desert Classic is sponsored by Marucci Sports, the official UNLV softball and baseball equipment supplier

UP NEXT FOR THE REBELS: UNLV will head out on the road for the first time this season with a trip to Houston for five games at the Houston Invitational Feb. 23-25. The Rebels will open the weekend against Syracuse at 8:30 a.m. PT Friday morning.