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Rebels flat in tourney opener

UNLV was forced to wait nearly an hour to play New Mexico.

Then it took only 30 minutes before the Rebels’ night was essentially over.

New Mexico scored nine runs in the second inning Thursday, including a grand slam by DJ Peterson, to take control and roll to a 13-0 victory in the first day of the Mountain West Conference baseball tournament.

The top-seeded Lobos (34-22) play No. 2 Texas Christian (36-17) in a winners’ bracket game of the double-elimination tournament at 7 p.m. today at Wilson Stadium. No. 4 UNLV (26-30) meets San Diego State (24-33) in an elimination game at 3 p.m.

TCU beat San Diego State 16-15 in the opening game, which pushed the start of the Rebels’ game back by 54 minutes.

For UNLV, it wasn’t worth the wait.

“I definitely don’t think we quit, but we got taken out of the game with the nine-spot,” UNLV coach Tim Chambers said.

New Mexico showed why it is the Mountain West’s best hitting team for average (.327) and power (41 home runs).

The Lobos belted out 18 hits, including 10 in the decisive second inning that chased UNLV freshman right-hander Erick Fedde, who despite this outing had become the Rebels’ most reliable pitcher. Fedde (6-5) was a second-team all-conference selection.

“They’re a great team, and they made me pay for it,” said Fedde, who was charged with 10 runs on 10 hits in 1 1/3 innings. “All in all, of course it’s not the outing I wanted. There were some good pitches they hit, and we didn’t get one bounce to go our way. Sometimes things are like that.”

Fedde threw only 38 pitches, so he could be brought back Saturday if the Rebels still are playing.

“I’ll go home and think about (this performance) probably all night,” Fedde said. “I just hope I get a chance to come back on the field this year. I don’t want to end it like this.”

UNLV’s offense never got going against New Mexico right-hander Austin House (7-5), a first-team all-conference selection. He went the distance, giving up six hits and striking out seven.

The Rebels had several hard hits, but they routinely found the gloves of New Mexico’s fielders, who turned five double plays. Left fielder Ben Woodchick provided perhaps the game’s best play when he ended the top of the eighth with a diving catch.

“It seemed like every time we got a guy on, it was a double play or we lined out to third or we lined out to right,” Chambers said. “But they made the plays, and we didn’t.”

After the drama was sapped out early, the only tension occurred in the fifth inning when New Mexico’s Kyle Stiner stole second base with the Lobos holding a 10-0 lead. Rebels reliever Brady Zuniga then sent the next pitch behind batter Alex Real, prompting an immediate ejection.

Chambers said he was told by New Mexico coach Ray Birmingham that Stiner stole on his own volition, but Zuniga will pay the price with an automatic NCAA-mandated four-game suspension that could carry over into next season.

Chambers said he didn’t order Zuniga to throw near Real.

“He did that on his own,” Chambers said. “It’s going to cost him.”

■ TCU 16, San Diego State 15 – The Horned Frogs blew a 14-4 lead in the ninth inning but rallied to score two in the bottom half to win.

San Diego State scored 11 runs in the ninth to take a one-run lead. TCU’s Kyle Von Tungeln hit a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. The Frogs then loaded the bases, and Brett Johnson delivered a one-out single for the victory.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

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