San Diego State pitched around UNLV star Bryson Stott in the second inning to get to Dillon Johnson.
Johnson then made the Aztecs pay by delivering a grand slam that keyed a five-run second inning and helped the No. 3-seeded Rebels to a 9-3 victory over No. 2 San Diego State in the first game of the Mountain West baseball tournament Thursday at Peccole Park in Reno.
“Dillon’s big hit in that second inning obviously changed the game and put us up 5-0,” UNLV coach Stan Stolte said. “We had a bunch of guys contribute.”
UNLV (28-27) plays at 6:30 p.m. Friday against top-seeded and 23rd-ranked Fresno State (36-14-1), which defeated No. 4-seeded UNR 4-3. The winner advances to Saturday’s title game of the double-elimination tournament.
Rebels starter Ryan Hare (8-4) pitched eight innings against San Diego State (32-24), allowing seven hits and one run. Donavon McCrystal pitched the ninth, allowing UNLV to save closer Jackson Cofer.
“(Hare) was getting tired there at the end, but we were just getting outs and trying to keep our bullpen fresh,” Stolte said. “He was fortunate they hit into five double plays, lined out into three of them. We had some things go our way.”
Before the game, Stott was named the Tony Gwynn Co-Player of the Year by Mountain West coaches. He shared the honor with Fresno State senior third baseman McCarthy Tatum.
Stott and Hare were selected to the all-conference first team. Right fielder Max Smith and third baseman Johnson made the second team.
Rebels second baseman Edarian Williams and San Diego State first baseman Jaden Fein shared Freshman of the Year honors.
Las Vegas Review-Journal
Rob Dau, Sr., C, Air Force
McCarthy Tatum, Sr., 3B, Fresno State
Zach Ashford, Sr., CF, Fresno State
JT Arruda, So., SS, Fresno State
Nolan Dempsey, Sr., 2B, Fresno State
Jared Mang, Sr., OF, New Mexico
Matt Rudick, So., OF, San Diego State
Kellen Strahm, Sr., CF, San Jose State
Bryson Stott, Jr., SS, UNLV
Jaylon McLaughlin, Jr., CF, UNR
Jaime Arias, So., LHP, Fresno State
Ryan Jensen, Jr., RHP, Fresno State
Adrian Mardueno, Jr., RHP, San Diego State
Ryan Hare, Jr., RHP, UNLV
Ashton Easley, Jr., OF, Air Force
Nic Ready, Sr., 3B, Air Force
Carter Bins, Jr., C, Fresno State
Angelo Armenta, Sr., SS, San Diego State
Mike Jarvis, Jr., 2B, San Diego State
Casey Schmitt, So., 3B, San Diego State
Max Smith, Sr., RF, UNLV
Dillon Johnson, Jr., 3B, UNLV
Weston Hatten, Sr., RF, UNR
Joshua Zamora, So., 3B, UNR
Jake Gilbert, Sr., RHP, Air Force
Davis Moore, Jr., RHP, Fresno State
Justin Slaten, Jr., RHP, New Mexico
Justin Goossen-Brown, Sr., RHP, San Diego State
Grant Ford, Jr., RHP, UNR
Tony Gwynn Co-Players of the Year: McCarthy Tatum; Bryson Stott
Pitcher of the Year: Ryan Jensen
Co-Freshmen of the Year: Jaden Fein, 1B, San Diego State; Edarian Williams, 2B, UNLV
Coach of the Year: Mike Batesole, Fresno State