April 8, 2017
LAS VEGAS - Brianna Gatlin's bases-clearing double in the bottom of the sixth broke a 4-4 tie and completed UNLV's comeback from a 4-2 deficit as the Rebels evened the series with Boise State with an 8-4 victory Saturday.
The teams return to Eller Media Stadium for Sunday's rubber game at 1 p.m. MT. Boise State is 3-0 so far this season in Mountain West series finales.
Boise State (23-12, 5-6 MW) took a 4-2 lead after a three-run second inning, but the Bronco offense couldn't plate any more runs despite seven hits over the final five innings. UNLV, meanwhile, scored a run in each of the third and fourth innings to pull even before getting four across in the game-deciding sixth frame.
"We had a few momentum changes today. We out-hit them but we didn't have the situational hitting that we had from Friday," said Boise State head coach Cindy Ball. "We have to look ahead, tomorrow's a new day and we have an opportunity to win another series and put ourselves in a good spot."
The Rebels (20-16, 3-5 MW) got a leadoff walk from Justine Federe off of Boise State's Paige Reimann to open the sixth, and after a one-out single from Jadelyn Yadao-Valdez, Karly Bunderson sacrificed the runners over to put runners on second and third with two away. Reina Bondi walked to load the bases and Gatlin sent a 1-1 offering from Reimann deep to center to clear the bags and put the Rebels up 7-4. UNLV upped the lead to 8-4 when Bronco second baseman Karlie Johnson couldn't handle Janine Petmecky's grounder, allowing Gatlin to score.
Morgan Ettinger, UNLV's fourth pitcher of the day, came on for the top of the seventh and allowed only one baserunner before closing out the contest.
Reimann fell to 4-5 on the year for Boise State, giving up four runs (three earned) on four hits with a pair of walks over three innings of relief.
The Broncos took advantage of a Rebel error to load the bases in the first, and took a 1-0 lead on Kora Wade's bases-loaded walk. UNLV countered with a pair of runs in the second, starting with Bondi and Gatlin working walks off of Bronco starter Kelsey Broadus, moving up a bag on a pair of steals, and scoring on Alyssa Navarro's one-out grounder and Kiley Harrison's two-out single, respectively.
Boise State answered with three runs in the top of the second. Johnson and Shaelee Pearson opened the inning with singles before Johnson was forced out at third on Tatiana Sorokina's fielder's choice to shortstop. Izzy Serrano singled to load the bases, and the Broncos tied it up as Rebekah Cervantes brought in Pearson with a groundout to second. Makenzie Sullivan, who had three hits for the Broncos on the day, then drilled a double to right to plate Sorokina and Serrano and make it 4-2.
Gatlin brought UNLV to within a run with a solo homer to start the third. The senior led the Rebels on the day, going 3-for-3 with four RBIs and coming up just a triple short of the cycle. In the fourth inning, Federe's leadoff double chased Broadus, and Charlie Masterson welcomed Reimann to the game with a single that put runners on the corners with none out. Pinch hitter Chrissi Omalza then tied the game with an RBI groundout to second.
Broadus struck out four but gave up four runs on five hits with two walks on the day.
Boise State put runners in scoring position in both the fourth and sixth innings but could not bring any across. In the fourth, singles from Cervantes, Sullivan and Edwards loaded the bases with one out, but the rally came to an abrupt end when UNLV reliever Breana Burke snagged Wade's line drive and doubled Cervantes off at third. In the sixth, Sullivan doubled with two outs, followed by a hit and stolen base from Edwards to put runners on second and third. But Burke again got out of the jam, striking out Wade.
Burke picked up her second win of the year, giving up four hits over two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief. Rebel starter Mara Kemmer lasted just an inning and two-thirds, giving up four runs (three earned) on five hits and two walks, while Masterson worked an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief to supplement her two-hit day at the plate before giving way to Burke.
For Boise State, Sullivan and Edwards had three hits apiece, while Cervantes and Pearson each had two.
"Sully and Cass put the ball in play today, hit it hard, and we can't ask for more than that," Ball said. "Cassidy really made the defense move around like tennis players. She moved the shortstop and used the ground. Sully drove the ball really well today."