LAS VEGAS – An unearned run in the bottom of the eighth inning gave UNLV a 4-3 win over the WVU baseball team on Tuesday evening in non-conference action.
The Mountaineers (8-5) scored three runs on eight hits, while UNLV (11-4) notched four runs on six hits. Each team committed one error.
A bases loaded sacrifice fly to center field by Justin Jones gave UNLV the go-ahead in the bottom of the eighth. Jones smoked a ball to center field and junior center fielder Bobby Boyd
made a miraculous catch to prevent any further damage.
Boyd finished the game 4-for-5 with two RBIs, one double and one run. Senior first baseman Ryan McBroom
added two hits, and junior shortstop Taylor Munden
and junior catcher Cam O’Brien had one hit apiece.
In his first career start at West Virginia, junior right-hander Michael Bennett
had trouble finding the strike zone throughout his outing, but was able to keep the Mountaineers in the game. Bennett (0-0) went 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on three hits with seven walks and five strikeouts.
Despite taking the loss, senior right-hander Corey Walter
(0-2) pitched well in relief, allowing an unearned run on two hits in 3.0 innings. Walter walked three and struck out three.
Bennett walked the bases loaded in the bottom of the first and UNLV took an early 2-0 lead on a mental error. Morgan Stotts hit a popup that McBroom, junior second baseman Billy Fleming
and freshman right fielder Shaun Wood
let fall into no man’s land for a two-run single.
It marked just the second time this season that West Virginia did not score the game’s opening run.
West Virginia took advantage of a two-out UNLV error to cut the Rebel lead to 2-1 in the top of the third inning. Boyd scored from third base on a single up the middle by McBroom, his team-leading 18th RBI of the season. Boyd had reached on a single to right field and then advanced to third following a throwing error on a ground ball to second base by Fleming.
Boyd gave the Mountaineers a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth with a two-out double over the left fielder’s head. Freshman designated hitter Jackson Cramer
and Munden scored after getting hit by a pitch and smacking a single up the middle, respectively.
Stotts drove in his third RBI of the game in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 3-3. Sophomore left-hander Ross Vance
entered the game in relief of Bennett and allowed a first pitch single to center field by Stotts, scoring T.J. White on a play at the plate.
UNLV starter Kenny Oakley (0-1) took the no-decision, allowing three runs, two earned, on six hits with one walk and six strikeouts in six innings of action. The win was awarded to Cody Roper (1-0), who did not allow a run in 2.2 innings. Brayden Torres picked up his third save of the season.
Stotts finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs to lead the Rebel hitter. Joey Armstrong walked three times and scored one run.
West Virginia will return to the Los Angeles area from March 13-15 for four games against Cal State Northridge. The games on Thursday and Friday begin at 6 p.m., while Saturday’s doubleheader is set to begin at 1 p.m.