BASEBALL: Hilltoppers get swept in Vegas

Amber North

The casinos, the clubs and the fun nightlife. That’s the essence of traveling to Las Vegas.

Instead, it was a city of disappointment for the Hilltoppers.

Western lost all three games in a series with University of Nevada-Las Vegas over the weekend, starting their season with a zero in the win column.

“We played a very good ball team, but there’s no excuse for the way we performed,” coach Joel Murrie said. “We very much looked like a team that hadn’t played a game all season.”

The Hilltoppers (0-3) went fresh into the series having not played any games this season compared to UNLV’s three-game experience.

In Friday’s game, Western spent the first eight innings being spectators for the Running Rebels (3-3) as they scored 13 straight runs. The Hilltoppers then added four runs to end the first game 13-4.

Starting pitcher J.C. Faircloth (0-1) threw 3.2 innings, allowing seven hits and six runs.

UNLV’s batting juice was running dry in Saturday’s matchup. But the juice wasn’t dry enough as the Running Rebels capitalized on a six-run rally, including game-winning single from UNLV catcher Justin Tellem. The Hilltoppers lost 7-6.

Tim Grogan, Matt Johnston and Phil Thayer all had two hits a piece, with Thayer driving in two runners.

“We had people hitting the bat really well over the weekend,” Murrie said. “Grogan hit well early in the season like he did last season.”

The Running Rebels continued to carry on the momentum into Sunday’s game, smacking Western with a 17-4 victory.

Murrie said he was disappointed with their three consecutive losses, but he did see some positives from the defeats.

“We didn’t play as I anticipated it, but we have a lot of games to go before conference season starts,” Murrie said. “There’s no way that I’m down on my ball club.”

Western will now focus on another road trip, traveling to play Tennessee-Martin today at 2 p.m.

Reach Amber North at [email protected]