Baseball grinds out 8-6 UNLV win

Janelle Soto/HIGHLANDER
Janelle Soto/HIGHLANDER

April 21, 2015
Highlanders 8 – Rebels 6

It’s been a tough outing for Head Coach Troy Percival and the Highlanders. The team suffered through an 11-game losing streak and were a meek 11-26 on the season heading into a Tuesday night showdown against the UNLV Rebels. Vince Fernandez ensured that the team felt none of the spring blues. The sophomore belted a two-run, walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th to give UC Riverside an 8-6 victory.

When UCR closer Ryan Lillie entered the game, the Highlanders were leading 5-3 in the ninth inning after scores in the first, second and fifth innings. Although it appeared the game was all but over, the freshman pitcher surrendered three singles and a walk before balking home another run as UNLV evened up the contest, 5-5. Lillie retired the next three batters to send the game into extra innings.

Both clubs scored a single run in the 10th inning before Fernandez stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th to power the Highlanders to victory with a homer to center field.

The home run was Fernandez’s sixth of the year. He currently leads the team in home runs, doubles, triples, RBIs, slugging percentage and stolen bases.

April 24, 2015
Matadors 2 – Highlanders 1

Facing one of the best pitching teams in the conference, the UCR baseball team went toe-to-toe with the Cal State Northridge Matadors, but ultimately fell in a 2-1 pitcher’s duel.

The Matadors were the first team to strike, picking up a run in the bottom of the first. UCR pitcher Joie Dunyon kept the CSUN bats quiet, keeping the club from scoring over the next five innings. Northridge pitcher Calvin Copping did not give up a hit until Vince Fernandez connected in the fourth inning.

UCR tied the contest in the top of the seventh inning as Cody Sporrer tripled to right field and crossed home plate on an Alex Rubanowitz ground-out. In the bottom of the inning, CSUN took advantage of a Highlander error to score the final run of the contest, 2-1.

Dunyon pitched all eight innings for the Highlanders, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out 10. Matador starter Copping struck out nine batters, giving up five hits and one run.

April 25, 2015
Highlanders 5 – Matadors 3
The Highlanders snapped a three-game conference losing skid with a 5-3 victory over the Matadors on Saturday afternoon.

Behind the hitting of Kevin Sprague and Adonis Morrison, UCR jumped out to a 5-1 lead through eight innings. Morrison launched a home run in the top of the fifth, 4-1, before Cody Sporrer drove in the final run of the game for the Highlanders with a single to right that scored Austin Colvin.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth, everything seemed to be going the way of the Highlanders until the Matadors started to mount a comeback behind a flurry of base hits. CSUN scored two runs in the inning before UCR reliever Jared Morton halted the fray, retiring two batters to give UCR the 5-3 victory.

UC Riverside next travels to Las Vegas to face UNLV on Tuesday, April 28.

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