UNLV found itself in prime position to snap a three-game losing streak with pitcher D.J. Myers cruising on the mound early and the team leading UNR 4-1 after six innings.
But that was before Myers fell victim to a high-pitch count. The Wolf Pack capitalized off crucial Rebels miscues in the seventh, including an error and two hit batsman, to gain the lead.
UNR scored four runs on four hits in the seventh and held on for a 5-4 win over UNLV on Friday at Wilson Stadium in the first game of a three-game Mountain West baseball series.
The Rebels (6-6, 0-4 MW), continuing their recent trend, failed to muster offense late and got just one hit after the seventh inning in losing their fourth straight game.
“D.J. got into a lot of 3-1 counts (in the third and fourth innings),” UNLV coach Tim Chambers said. “His pitch count started to get up there a little. And he tends to get tired right when he gets to that mark. He went a couple pitches over that today. I’m not going to go past 100 very often this early in the season.
“We just have to be better offensively than we are right now. They just have to start the season over offensively and not chase a number.”
Myers, who had struck out seven and given up six hits after six innings, left after 105 pitches.
Jordan Devencenzi, the Wolf Pack’s first batter of the seventh, reached first after a throwing error by UNLV second baseman Justin Jones.
After he stole second, Devencenzi moved to third on a single by Kyle Huntcame and scored on a one-out single by Kewby Meyer to make the score 4-2. Ryan Howell’s RBI single made it 4-3, and a two-out, two-run single by Christian Stolo gave UNR a 5-4 lead.
Myers was replaced by Ben Wright, who lasted 1/3 of an inning. Wright hit two of the five batters he faced and also gave up two hits before Zach Hartman got out of the inning with a groundout.
“That kills you,” Chambers said of the hit batsmen. “It just kills you. You hit guys and then you get tired. But (UNR) is a good team, and they outhit us at the end of the day. We’re not offensive right now. That’s the bottom line. It puts a lot of heat on the pitchers when you’re not hitting.”
Said Wright: “I just came in and tried to minimize damage. Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s just baseball right there. I couldn’t find the curveball today. I couldn’t get around on it and couldn’t locate it. That was a little problem.”
UNLV took a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning after RBI doubles by Morgan Stotts and Dylan Ellis. Ellis was the only Rebel to finish with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run.
Ryan Howell led UNR (12-1, 4-0) with a 3-for-5 effort and one RBI.
Hartman, who pitched 2 1/3 innings, gave up no hits and struck out three.
“It’s nice to see him out there again,” Chambers said. “He went two years without throwing. He’s been good. We’ll keep going to him.”
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.