ARMENDARIZ’S 7TH-INNING HEROICS RALLY REBELS
UNLV tops Tarleton State 6-4 to advance in the NISC
Denise Armendariz homered in the top of the seventh to rally the Rebels over Tarleton State Tuesday at the National Invitational Softball Championship.
UNLV (41-14) poached a 6-4 victory after the Texans (30-25) hit back-to-back home runs in the bottom of the sixth to grab a 4-3 advantage entering the final frame.
Mia Trejo and Janyssa Martin both took five-pitch walks ahead of Armendariz, who hit 3-for-4 and batted in all six UNLV runs. The senior right fielder hammered a 1-1 fastball over left center to clear the bases.
“When our backs were against the wall with our season on the line, Denise really stepped up,” UNLV head softball coach Kristie Fox said. “I was really happy we had the focus in that last inning and made their pitcher throw strikes to put ourselves in that situation.”
Armendariz bounced back from an 0-for-4 outing Monday against Rutgers to carry the Rebels.
In the third inning, Tarleton pitcher Tristan Bridges threw wide a force-out attempt at second that extended the inning for Armendariz’s at-bat. Armendariz floated a liner into center to score Hailey Schmaltz and Sofia Morales.
Armendariz collected another two-out RBI in the fifth, cranking a single to left center that plated April Visser.
All but one Tarleton State run were scored from solo homers.
Katy Schaefer went yard in the bottom of the second inning and followed Georgia Capell’s bomb in the sixth with another dinger.
UNLV starter Jasmine Martin struck out four and held the Texans to two hits through 4 ⅓ innings before being relieved by Alanna Thiede. Following a fly-ball RBI single to shallow right, Thiede punched out the next two batters to close the book with the Rebels leading 3-2.
“Jas did a really good job coming in a mixing her speeds. You could tell she became a little fatigued towards the end, so we wanted to give them a different look. I thought Alanna had a pretty good outing as well.
“If we’re going to win it all, we’re going to have to take some chances early with our pitchers eating innings so we can even put ourselves in that situation at the end.”
Jenny Bressler (W, 28-7) earned the victory after retiring all four batters she faced over the last 1 1/3 innings.
UNLV will face the loser of Tuesday afternoon’s contest between Baylor and North Alabama in the final elimination round game Wednesday at 10 a.m. PT. The winner moves on to the four-team championship bracket.