In a game that saw numerous ups and downs, miscues and lead changes, the Nevada softball team prevailed with a 14-13 victory over in-state foe UNLV to clinch the series victory in Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon.
As she has all season, senior Megan Sweet was the catalyst in the win for the Wolf Pack (30-9, 8-4 MW). The Bakersfield, Calif., native went 4-for-5 with six RBI and two home runs, giving her a program record 35 home runs for her career. The all-time mark had been previously held by Brittany Puzey since 2009. Junior McKenna Isenberg (11-5) earned the win for Nevada after allowing only one earned run and striking out four in four innings of relief.
Nevada is now tied for second in the Mountain West standings with San Jose State, who comes to Reno this weekend for a three-game series. The win also marked the Pack first 30-win season since 2013.
After UNLV pushed seven runs across in the top of the fifth to take a commanding 7-1lead, the Pack mounted its comeback in the very next frame. Junior Raquel Martinez led-off the inning with a 10-pitch at-bat that was capped off with a single up the middle and before freshman Kwynn Warner followed with a single.
With one out, Sweet stepped to the plate and sent a 1-1 pitch to center. Against the wind, the ball hung on the warning track but it ricocheted off the glove of the center fielder and over the fence, giving Sweet a three-run home run and cutting the Nevada deficit to three, 7-4.
Senior Jasmine Jenkins, who put Nevada ahead in the top of the second with a solo home run, followed Sweet’s home run with the fourth Wolf Pack hit of the inning, an infield single. Sophomore Jennifer Purcell was next batter and smacked a 2-1 pitch that hooked around the right field foul pole that made it a one-run game, 7-6.
The Rebels plated two runs in the home half of the third to extend their lead to 9-6 but, once again, the Wolf Pack rallied. Sophomore Amanda Nicholas cut into the UNLV lead with an RBI double, making it 9-7, and senior Hannah Harger made it a one-run game again, 9-8, on a sacrifice fly. With pinch runner Amanda Geil on third and Martinez on second with one out, sophomore Aaliyah Gibson hit a chopper that was bobbled and thrown away by the first baseman. Two runs scored and the Pack had its first lead since 1-0 in the second inning. Nevada tacked on much needed insurance runs on RBI singles from Sweet and Purcell, making it 12-9 Wolf Pack.
Isenberg blanked UNLV in the fifth but the Rebels plated two runs in the bottom of the sixth that made it 12-11. Looking to give Isenberg some breathing room, Sweet came to the plate with a runner on in the top of seventh and hit her record-breaking home run to left center that made it 14-11.
Despite the Rebels pushing two more runs across in the bottom of the seventh, Isenberg ended the game with her fourth strikeout of the afternoon.
Nevada Press Release