REBELS HEAD TO RENO WITH CONFERENCE TITLE HOPES ON THE LINE
UNLV will close out the regular season with a Silver State Series showdown at UNR, May 8-9
- Saturday, May 8 | UNLV at UNR | 12:00 p.m. | Live Stats| Live Video
- Saturday, May 8 | UNLV at UNR | 2:30 p.m. | Live Stats| Live Video
- Sunday, May 9 | UNLV at UNR | 12:00 p.m. PT | Live Stats| Live Video
After wrapping up its 2021 home slate with a huge series win over first-place Fresno State last weekend, the UNLV softball team will hit the road for its final Mountain West matchup, taking on in-state rival UNR in a Silver State Series showdown, the annual all-encompassing competition between the two schools presented by IBEW and Nevada Donor Network.
The two teams will meet in a doubleheader on Saturday, May 8 beginning at noon and wrap up the series Sunday, May 9 at noon. The Wolf Pack currently sit in third in the Mountain West standings at 11-7 in conference play. The Rebels have won the last two series against their rivals after not winning a series since 2015 prior to the arrival of head coach Kristie Fox.
With UNLV’s non-conference series against San Diego, scheduled for next weekend on its conference bye week, being canceled due to scheduling conflicts within the USD program, this weekend’s series at UNR will serve as the regular season finale.
The Rebels’ Mountain West title hopes will be on the line in Reno. Trailing Fresno State by a half game in the standings, if UNLV can manage a sweep then it would take just one Fresno loss either this weekend of next weekend for the Rebels to clinch a share of the Mountain West title and the league’s automatic bid with their head-to-head tiebreaker over the Bulldogs. A 2-1 series win would require Fresno State to lose two of their last six for the same scenario to happen. Bottom line, if the Rebels can take care of business in Reno, the pressure will be on Frenso State.
• Kristie Fox is in her fourth season with a 115-51 record. Fox reached the 100-win mark with a 2-0 win over Utah Valley at home on March 6, 2021. She needs one more win to reach 250 career wins as a head coach
• She is the fastest coach to reach the 100-win milestone at UNLV, doing it in only 143 games
• The Rebels started 11-4 or better through the first 15 games in all four years Fox has been at the helm, including a 12-3 record in 2019
• UNLV’s longest winning streak this season in four games.
• UNLV’s longest losing streak this season is four, which is the second longest under Coach Fox as the Rebels just had one longer – a five-game streak in her first season in 2018
• The Rebels have won all six of their Mountain West series in 2021 (three conference wins in a seventh series were awarded via San Jose State forfeit)
• UNLV was as a high at No. 51 in the RPI at one point this season and will enter the weekend against the Wolf Pack at No. 66 in the current RPI rankings, moving up six spots with the series win over Fresno State. The Bulldogs currently sits at No. 56 as the highest ranking MW team
• UNLV has now won two of three series its played over Fresno State since Kristie Fox took over, including six of the last nine meetings. The Fresno win was huge as it gave UNLV the head-to-head tiebreaker should the teams finish with identical conference records
• Mia Trejo earned UNLV’s fifth MW Player of the Week honor on May 4 after hitting .667 at the plate with a two-run home run, seven RBI and two walks. Trejo drove in the game-winner in a 6-5 walkoff win in game one, then collected six RBI in the 9-1 five-inning series clinching win.
• The Rebels took two of three at Colorado State (April 24-25), marking the third series win the last four meetings between the squads
• UNLV’s series win over New Mexico (April 17-18) was its third straight over the Lobos, while they have won seven of the last nine over UNM
• Junior Denise Armendariz earned her first career MW Player of the Week honor after going 4-for-7 (.571) with six RBI, one double and a walk in the series win vs New Mexico. In the 5-0 game-one win, Armendariz drove in three of the five runs, then drove in three of UNLV’s four runs in the 4-2 series finale win
• Junior Jenny Bressler pitched a complete-game no-hitter in the 5-0 win over New Mexico on April 17. It was the second no-hitter of Bressler’s career (first in seven-innings), while it was just the sixth since 1995
• UNLV got a major monkey off its back with their sweep in ogan, April 10-11, as the Aggies had won eight of the last 11 matchups between the squads. It was the Rebels first series win over USU since 2015 and first sweep over the Aggies since 2014
• After the sweep at USU, April 10-11, senior shortstop Samantha Diaz earned her second Mountain West Player of the Week of the season (third in her career) after going 6-for-10 (.600) with nine RBI and five runs scored in the three games. That included a home run in each game (one solo, one two-run and one three-run home run), marking her first dingers since she hit five on opening weekend (earning her first MW honor of the season)
• Under Fox, who is a San Diego native, the Rebels have won five of its last six games in San Diego, which included the program’s first-ever three-game sweep at SDSU in 2019 and the this year, the first back-to-back series wins there (no conference games were played in 2020)
• After the series in San Diego, March 27-28, the Rebels swept the Mountain West weekly awards, marking the 22nd time UNLV has earned both awards in the same week since joining the conference in 2000. Jenny Bressler was named the pitcher of the week for the third time in her career, while Justine Federe earned her second career weekly honor
• UNLV has swept Boise State and Utah State in 2021, marking the fourth and fifth sweeps in conference play in three conference seasons (2020 was canceled) under Fox, while it was the third straight series win over the Broncos since Fox took over
• UNLV hit 17 home runs total over the first 26 games, which included nine alone on opening weekend, then had an 11-game stretch without one, but the long ball returned as they have hit 21 over the last 13 games, including six against Fresno State
• UNLV ranks first in the MW with a .978 fielding percentage, which is tied for 13th in the country; the Rebels have committed just 21 errors in 37 games, which is also a league-best
• Scoring first and early has been a recipe for success this year as UNLV is 17-3 when they score first and 18-2 when they lead after four innings
• Rebels have six players currently hitting over .300 (min. 20 at-bats) – freshman Jasmine Martin (.423), junior Denise Armendariz (.367), sophomore Maddie Schmidt (.342), senior Justine Federe (..330), senior Mia Trejo (.315) and senior Lauren Tycksen (.311)
• Schmidt has been a consistent spark for the offense in the leadoff spot. Her 41 hits rank tied for 4th in the MW while her 35 runs scored ranks second. She is also fifth in stolen bases with 15, while teammate and senior Lauren Tycksen ranks fourth with 17 stolen bases
• Armendariz and Federe have botrh had hitting streaks of nine games, which is a team-best. Federe has a four-game streak and Armendariz has a three game streak. Federe and freshman Janyssa Martin are also tied for season-high 15-game on-base streaks
• Janyssa Martin has had an impressive start to her collegiate career with a .298 average, 28 hits, 15 runs scored, five doubles, four home runs and 24 RBI. On opening weekend alone, the right fielder hit .727 with eight hits, seven RBI, two home runs, a double and five runs scored. In her first career at-bat she blasted a two-run home then, then topped that with a walk-off grand slam in the sixth inning against Dixie State. Against Utah State, Martin added her second grand slam of the year helping the Rebels rout USU 17-0 in five innings. Martin has 15-game on-base this streak with Tycksen coming in with the second-best on-base streak of 12 games
• Armendariz has been a consistent force at the plate, leading the team with a team-best .367 average and 14 doubles to go along with 16 runs scored and 25 RBI and three home runs. Seventeen of of her 31 total hits have gone for extra bases, with her 14 doubles ranking first in the MW and tied for 19th in the country
• Senior Lauryn Tycsken and sophomore Maddie Schmidt have combined for 32 of UNLV’s 41 stolen bases in 2021 with Schmidt with 15 and Tycksen with 17
• Lauren Tycksen leads all Rebels with 11 multi-hit games in 2021, while senior Samantha Diaz and senior Justine Federe are tied for a team-best eight multi-RBI games. Diaz leads the team with 30 RBI on the season
• The Rebels have been clutch with runners in scoring position, hitting .307. Pinch-hitting has also been successful as UNLV is hitting .310 in those situations
• UNLV added a fifth grand slam of the year on a Justine Federe grand slam in the fifth inning in the 9-1 game-one win at CSU. A fourth grand slam was hit by Janyssa Martin in the first inning of an eventual 17-0 win over USU on April 11. The Rebels hit three grand slams on opening weekend and a fourth came in a 17-0 win over Utah State. Federe and Martin have two apeice in 2021. The five are now the most since UNLV hit six in 2009, while it’s just the ninth time since joining the Mountain West in 2000 the Rebels have had three or more in a season. Prior to opening weekend, the Rebels had not hit a grand slam in the Fox era
• The pitching staff as a whole has been solid in 2021 with a 2.93 ERA that rnaks second in the MW. The 12 shutouts are second in the MW and rank tied for 26th in the country
• Bressler picked another Mountain West win at CSU, allowing just one home run as the only hit int he 9-1 series openeing win in five innings. She is now 15-6 on the year, including 10-2 in conference play
• Bressler ERA stands at 2.35, which ranks fifth in the Mountain West. The junior has won all 10 of her 12 starts in Mountain West play, throwing complete games in eighth of them. Opponents are hitting just .202 off of Bressler, which ranks second in the MW, while her 124 strikeouts ran third
• In just over two and half seasons, Bressler has now amassed 49 career wins, which already ranks seventh all-time in program history
• Senior Charlie Masterson has also been steady in the circle, going 6-3 with a 2.123 ERA and 43 strikeouts. Her best three performances of the season came in her last three starts – a 1-0 shutout in game two at CSU to clinch the series on April 24, a 6-0 game-two win over Utah State on April 10, where she pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits in 7.0 innings pitched and a 1-0 loss in game two against New Mexico, where she allowed no earned runs in a complete-game
• Senior Samantha Diaz had a career opening weekend at the plate, hitting five home runs (two two-run homers, two three-run homers and first career grand slam) to go along with 13 RBI and six runs scored. One three-run homer came against Dixie State for the walk-off fifth inning win, while the grand slam tied the game up at five against Southern Utah. Diaz earned the Mountain West Player of the Week award on February 16 for her performance
• The Rebels were picked to finish second in the Mountain West Coaches Preseason Poll – their highest predicted finish since 2012 and just the fourth time since they joined the conference in 2000 they had ranked higher than third in the annual poll
• Andy Jarvis was promoted to Associate Head Coach prior to the 2020 campaign after being an integral part of the success at the plate and the stellar defense in the outfield
• Pitching coach Emily Vincent, who was a standout pitcher at McNeese State, is in third season after leading the pitching staff to the top ERA in the conference each of the last two seasons
Live video links will be available for all three games in the series. Links will be available on www.UNLVRebels.com. Live updates can also be found by following @UNLVSoftball on twitter. —