REBEL KICKOFF OPENS SOFTBALL SEASON
Mountain West favorites take early test Thursday versus BYU
All eyes are on UNLV softball as the co-preseason favorites in the Mountain West Conference open the 2022 season hosting the Rebel Kickoff this week at Eller Media Stadium.
UNLV and BYU kick off opening day with a single game Thursday, Feb. 10, at 5 p.m. before matchups continue Saturday and Sunday with CSU Bakersfield and Hawaii joining the field.
The Rebels, who finished second in the Mountain West standings last season, return the bulk of their lineup after losing two seniors to graduation.
All games of the 2022 Rebel Kickoff will stream live on YouTube.com/UNLVAthletics. Live audio of UNLV’s games, with Wyatt Tomcheck calling the play-by-play, are free to listen at UNLVRebels.com.
UNLV vs. the field
- All-time vs. BYU: 13-37
- Streak: Lost 5. Last win March 7, 2010 (8-7 in 8 innings).
- First meeting: Lost 4-2 on March 31, 2000.
- Last meeting: Lost 6-5 on Feb. 13, 2015.
- All-time vs. Cal State Bakersfield: 5-2
- Streak: Lost 1.
- First meeting: Won 8-5 on Feb. 16, 2008.
- Last meeting: Lost 5-1 on Feb. 12, 2017.
- All-time vs. Hawaii: 33-38
- Streak: Lost 2.
- First meeting: Won 5-3 on April 12, 1985.
- Last meeting: Lost 8-1 on Feb. 19, 2018.
Who’s new in Scarlet & Gray?
UNLV bolsters its pitching rotation with championship experience. Oklahoma transfer Alanna Thiede comes over after 12 career appearances with the reigning National Champions while freshman Sabrina Jolin headed south from Anchorage, Alaska, where she dominated the prep scene. Jolin claimed Alaska’s Gatorade Player of the Year award three straight times and led South Anchorage to a state title, claiming a 0.82 ERA over 102 innings pitched.
A vacated second base, due to the graduation of Lauren Tycksen, finds immediate booking as N.C. State transfer April Visser and freshman slugger Dominique Rodriguez will compete for the position.
UNLV is predicted to top the Mountain West, according to preseason polling of the conference’s coaches. The Rebels tied with San Diego State in overall predicted-order-of-finish points, but carried the most first-place votes with five. UNLV’s last conference championship came in 1995 as a member of the Big West. That year, the Rebels reached the Women’s College World Series.
UNLV returns 12 letterwinners, including eight starters and All-Mountain West selections Denise Armendariz (DP), Jenny Bressler (P) and Mia Trejo (1B), from last season when the Rebels finished second in the Mountain West standings. The Rebels added six freshmen and three transfers in the offseason.
Milestone Win Ahead
UNLV head coach Kristie Fox’s next win will be the 250th in her career. Fox has 115 victories after five seasons at UNLV following 134 wins in five years at the helm at UT-Arlington.
Super seniors Samantha Diaz and Mia Trejo are ascending UNLV’s career batting records with Diaz in or near the top 10 in four categories and Trejo on record in six.
Jenny on the Block
Senior pitcher Jenny Bressler is rising on UNLV’s career pitching rankings. Bressler sits inside or within striking distance of the top 10 in 10 categories.
Bressler’s current .765 career winning percentage would set a Mountain West record. The all-time lead is .728 by Paige Afflect (BYU, 2008-11) who recorded a 91-34 career record.
UNLV has been the conference’s leading team in field percentage each of the last four seasons and owns the first, second and fourth best single seasons.
The Rebels .977 fielding percentage in 2021 was second only to their record-setting .979 mark in 2019.
Been caught stealing
The Rebels caught opponents stealing base 15 times last season, leading all Mountain West teams.
UNLV also matched a single-season record by recording 12 out stealing in conference play in 2021 (12, San Diego State, 2007).