Aztecs Drop Series Opener to UNLV 5-1

UNLV 5, SDSU 1 Opens in a new window
Derrick Tuskan/San Diego State

LAS VEGAS –San Diego State softball is in Las Vegas this weekend to play UNLV in the final series of the regular season. The Aztecs need just one win in the series to earn a share of the Mountain West title and the top seed in the MW tournament. In Thursday's series opener, SDSU (27-17, 14-6 Mountain West) jumped out to an early lead by scoring a run in the top of the first. However, San Diego State did not cross the plate again as it fell to the Rebels (30-16, 13-7) by the score of 5-1.
The Aztecs wasted no time as Lala Macario singled to lead off the ballgame. After a pair of outs, Alyssa Garcia advanced her to second with a bunt single. The next hitter, Katie Goldberg, knocked a double into the right-center field gap, scoring Macario as SDSU took an early 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Aztecs made a pair of defensive highlight plays to keep the Rebels off the board. After a leadoff single, Cali Decker caught a foul popup on a hit and run and threw it to Mac Barbara at first for the double play. The next UNLV hitter, Alyssa Trejo, hit a ball deep to center but Macey Keester reached over the wall and brought it back to end the inning.
UNLV evened the score in the bottom of the third, when Kelsie Kelso led off with a home run to left. After a single, Stacey Nuveman Deniz went to her bullpen and reigning Mountain West Pitcher of the Week Dee Dee Hernandez took over for Allie Light. After a sacrifice bunt, Hernandez got a groundout. Following an intentional walk to put runners on first and second, Hernandez induced another groundout to escape the inning.
In the fourth inning, the Rebels pulled ahead. UNLV started off the inning with a pair of singles before Hernandez was able to get a groundout and a strikeout. Marissa Bowman put the Rebels in front with a double to right-center, scoring both runners. Bowman scored on a single by Skylar Shaw to extend the UNLV lead to 4-1. After another single and a walk loaded the bases, Hernandez struck out Jesse Farrell to end the fourth without any more damage.
The next inning, UNLV struck again with a two-out rally. Hernandez got two quick outs before giving up a pair of singles. Bowman hit another double, this time to the other gap in left-center, as Trejo came around to score. Cassidy West took over for Hernandez. After hitting the first batter she faced, West was able to get out of the inning on a grounder to third. She proceeded to hold the Rebels scoreless in the sixth inning as well
Rebel starter Ellie Zellien hurled her tenth complete game of the season. Zellien struck out four, improving to 11-7.
If San Diego State wins one game this weekend, the Aztecs clinch a share of the Mountain West championship and the top seed in the conference tournament. If SDSU wins both remaining games in the series, San Diego State would earn the championship outright.
SDSU continues the series with the Rebels at 3 p.m. on Friday.
UNLV 5, San Diego State 1
San Diego State (27-17, 14-6 MW)      100 000 0 – 1 4 0
UNLV (30-16, 13-7 MW)                      001 310 X – 5 12 1
W – Zellien, 11-7; L – Hernandez, 9-4
HR: Kelso, UNLV (3)