UNLV Rebels Capture Inaugural Gonvernor’s Series Presented By NV Energy



Junior baseball player Buddy Borden is the first recipient of the Bill Ireland Award

Bolstered by an outstanding performance by its spring sports programs, the UNLV Athletics Department has been honored as the inaugural winner of the Governor’s Series presented by NV Energy and sponsored by Barrick Gold. Governor Sandoval awarded UNLV with the trophy at Friday’s state Board of Regents meeting in Reno.

With only three points remaining to be awarded when the NCAA releases its Academic Progress Report, the Rebels lead the all-encompassing competition with Nevada, Reno with a dominating score of 34.5 to 10.5. The Governor’s Series Trophy was awarded to UNLV President Neal Smatresk at Friday’s Board of Regents meeting held in Reno.

On October 8, 2012 Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval announced the launch of the Governor’s Series, presented by NV Energy. This historic competition established a formal head-to-head athletic and academic challenge between longtime rivals — the UNLV Rebels and the Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack.

The Rebels earned three points in volleyball, swimming and diving, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, softball, outdoor track and field and baseball, plus 1.5 points as the Rebels’ women’s soccer team split with UNR.

The Wolf Pack earned three points in football, cross country and indoor track and field and added 1.5 points in the soccer split.

“It is truly an honor for UNLV to win the first Governors Series award,” UNLV Athletic Director Jim Livengood said. “We are extremely proud of our student-athletes, coaches and staff who made this possible. The best competition is always within a conference, and in this case, our state. This should be a sense of pride for Rebels everywhere, inside and outside of the state of Nevada. Thanks to Governor Sandoval for starting this series and a huge debt of gratitude to NV Energy and Barrick Gold for their sponsorship.”

Along with UNLV earning the Governor’s Series Trophy, it also announced its inaugural winner of the Bill Ireland Award, which will be presented annually to a student-athlete who shines in their respective sport while competing against Nevada, Reno as part of the Governor’s Series. The winner must come from a Rebel team that won its competition vs. the Wolf Pack, must have made a significant impact on that outcome and also be in good academic standing. The first winner of the Bill Ireland Award is junior baseball pitcher and Las Vegas product Buddy Borden.

The graduate of Arbor View High School, who on June 7 was taken in the seventh round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates, sported….sported a 2-0 record and pitched 13.0 innings vs. UNR in two games. He owned a 1.38 ERA and allowed only two runs while striking out 10 and was the only pitcher from either side to record two wins. As a team, the Rebels won four of the six meetings, one in Las Vegas and three in Reno.

“It’s always cool to win against your rival, but being rewarded in doing that this season is really neat,” Borden said. “It is a great honor to win the first Bill Ireland Award, but I was fortunate to have my team behind me and help get the wins in the two games I pitched.”

In Borden’s first start, UNLV beat the Wolf Pack 15-2, which at the time, was their largest defeat over its rival since 1985. He pitched 6.0 innings and struck out six while allowing one run on four hits.

In his second start, the Rebels needed a strong pitching performance as they only recorded three hits as a team. Borden pitched 7.0 innings, allowing one run on eight hits while striking out four, as the Rebels won 5-1.

Borden, a communications studies major, has a cumulative grade point average of 3.42.

The award is named of Mr. Bill Ireland, who is deeply tied to the history of the Wolf Pack and Rebels athletics programs. A 1952 graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno, Ireland was the Wolf Pack’s first baseball coach (1961-67). After his time at UNR, he went on to UNLV where he became the Rebels first football coach (1968-72) and later served as athletic director (1973-80). Ireland is credited with helping create the Fremont Cannon, which is the trophy awarded to the winner of the annual Rebels vs. Wolf Pack football game.


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