(Las Vegas, NV) – The UNLV Rebels scored five times in the eighth inning with the go-ahead run coming on a controversial balk call to rally from behind in a 10-9 win over the Sacred Heart Pioneer Baseball team Sunday afternoon in the finale of a four-game series.
The Pioneers led 7-1 in the fifth, but the Rebels rallied to take their first lead in the eighth beginning with a solo homerun to left by Rance Roundy to cut Sacred Heart's lead to 8-6. UNLV put the tying runs on an error and single, and MJ Schifano (Monroe, NY) came in from third to pitch. He was called for a balk, which head coach Nick Giaquinto argued, to move the tying runs into scoring position, but recorded two outs on a groundout and fielder's choice to nearly pitch out of the jam. However, after a hit batsman loaded the bases, Scott Dysinger tied the game with a two-run single to right. Then, with runners on the corners, Schifano was called for another balk to force in the go-ahead run, and was ejected immediately after for arguing. Trent Clark followed with an RBI single, an insurance run which proved to be the game winner thanks to a Pioneer rally in the ninth.
Dave Boisture (Highland Mils, NY) reached on a close play at first, beating out a fielder's choice to avoid a game-ending double play. Down to their final strike, Chris Whittemore (Lavellette, NJ) kept the game alive with a single to right, setting up Dan Perez to drive an RBI single off the glove of the diving right fielder Trevor Kirk. That sent the tying run to third and go-ahead run on first, but pinch-hitter Derick Horn (Valatie, NY) grounded out to end the game.
The Pioneers took an early 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI single by JJ Edwards (Endwell, NY) and an RBI fielder's choice by John Murphy (Seymour, CT). SHU answered Brandan Bayardi's RBI single in the first with a five-run third inning to take a 7-1 lead. Murphy drove in a run with single, and after two more came in on run-scoring groundouts, Schifano knocked in another couple with a two-out single to right.
UNLV came back with a four-run fifth on RBI singles by Dysinger and Cook and a two-run double by Bayardi. SHU got one back in the sixth on an error.
Edwards and Murphy both had three hits on the day, while Kody Kerski (Waterbury, CT) yielded three earned runs in five innings in a solid start for the Pioneers.
Sacred Heart is next in action on Tuesday at Manhattan at 3:30 p.m.