REBELS TAKE SERIES OVER NEW MEXICO WITH RUBBER MATCH WIN SUNDAY
UNLV beats the Lobos 4-2 Sunday behind three RBIs from junior Denise Armendariz
The UNLV softball team put Saturday’s game-two loss behind them quickly, coming from behind to beat New Mexico 4-2 in Sunday’s weekend finale for the Mountain West series win at Eller Media Stadium. After New Mexico took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth, the Rebels scored four runs over the next two frames to rally for the victory.
UNLV has won all four of its conference series in 2021 (the Rebels were awarded three additional wins via San Jose State forfeit) to improve to 21-10 overall and 13-2 in league play. With a month left in the regular season, the Rebels are in second place in the standings behind an 11-1 Fresno State, who was on its conference bye week this weekend.
Sunday featured another pitcher’s duel as Rebel ace Jenny Bressler made her second start and New Mexico’s Emma Guindon made her third of the weekend. After stifling UNLV’s hitters in the 1-0 game-two shutout, Guindon seemed to be doing more of the same to UNLV through the first three innings. Bressler also continued to dominate the Lobo offense as she had in her game-one no hitter, but left one over the plate in the fourth that New Mexico’s Rachael Hatoot sent just over the left field wall inside of the foul pole for a 1-0 lead.
The Rebels responded quickly, however, as senior Justine Federe led off the bottom half of the inning with a single to center and reached third after an error on a Mia Trejo fielder’s choice. Freshman Zoe Nolte entered to pinch run for Trejo and quickly stole second to put runners on second and third with no outs, bringing up junior Denise Armendariz. Armendariz, who knocked in three runs in the 5-0 series opening win, was again clutch, sending a single up the middle to score both Federe and Nolte for the 2-1 lead. UNLV added a third run in the inning on a long Samantha Diaz sacrifice fly to center, which scored freshman Janyssa Martin from second for a 3-1 margin.
The Lobos cut the deficit back to one in the fifth on a hit by pitch after they had loaded the bases with three walks from Bressler. In the bottom half, freshman Jasmine Martin connected on a pinch-hit single to lead off, which was followed by a bunt single by sophomore Maddie Schmidt, putting two on with nobody out. The next batter, Mia Trejo, was hit by a pitch to load the bags and who else but Armendariz was up to try and deliver an insurance run or two. The Riverside, California, native did just that with a sacrifice fly to left to score Jasmine Martin for the final margin of 4-2.
Senior Charlie Masterson, who has pitched brilliantly during her last few outings, entered in relief of Bressler and got the final six outs for her first save of the season – a great end to the weekend for the Boulder City native after she got tagged in Saturday’s loss without allowing an earned run. Bressler earned her eighth win in conference play – marking eight victories in all eight Mountain starts – and improved to 13-5 overall on the season. The duo of Bressler and Masterson were impressive in the series as the pair allowed just two earned runs on 10 hits in 21.0 innings pitched with 16 strikeouts.
Federe and Armendariz were also quite the pair at the plate with the two combining to go 8-for-18 (.444) with two runs scored, one double and seven RBI – six RBI by Armendariz alone. Each extended their hitting streaks to eight games, which matches a season long by any Rebel in 2021.
UP NEXT: The Rebels have three Mountain West series remaining – next weekend at Colorado State, home in two weeks against Fresno State and on the road in three weeks at in-state rival UNR. All nine games will be huge for UNLV as the Bulldogs sit in first place and the Wolfpack are in third, so UNLV’s path to a conference championship is squarely in their own hands during the final stretch of the regular season.