LAS VEGAS — Columbia tagged UNLV for seven runs on 13 hits, but the Rebels used a five-run fourth to take a big lead and defeat the Lions in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, 13-7.
The Lions went through four pitchers. Starter Harrisen Egly worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first but lasted just three-plus innings to take the loss. Offensively, the Lions were led by three-hit games from Chandler Bengtson and Liam McGill. Bengtson scored three times while McGill and Joe Engel each drove in a pair.
Ben Porter came around to score after a leadoff triple in the third for Columbia’s first run of the afternoon and tie the game 1-1. UNLV retook the lead with a solo homer in the bottom half of the inning.
The Lions responded with two in the fourth to take their first and only lead. All of the damage came with two outs, as Chandler Bengtson, Liam McGillandJoe Engel all singled. Engel’s brought Bengtson around for the tying run. Porter then reached on an error at third that put the Lions on top, 3-2.
UNLV put together a big inning in the bottom half and never trailed again. The Rebels chased Egly with a leadoff double and a walk. Brett Gannaway came on in relief, but he gave up a grand slam to Kyle Isbel that put the Rebels way ahead. The lead grew to 8-3 off a solo homer by Jack-Thomas Wold in the fifth.
McGill gave the Lions life with a two-run shot as part of a three-run sixth. Matt Cerfolio singled home Porter later in the inning to close the gap to 8-6, but UNLV got all three runs back in the bottom half. Isbel hit his second homer as part of a six-RBI game, followed by a solo shot later two batters later off the bat of Nick Ames.
The Lions would score once the rest of the game, which wasn’t enough to catch the Rebels. Back-to-back doubles in the UNLV eighth brought the game to its final tally.
LAS VEGAS — Columbia was limited to just three hits while Trevor Horn and Connor Clark combined for the shutout to help UNLV run away from the Lions, 11-0, in game two.
The Rebels got to Columbia starter Ben Wereski early, scoring three runs in the second and two more in the third. Max Smith hit a two-run homer that made it 5-0 in the third. Wereski surrendered seven runs, six earned, across 4 1-3 innings while striking out four.
Randall Kanemaru singled to lead off the fourth, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. McGill followed with another single to put two on with nobody out, but the Lions came up empty as Horn induced Engel into the inning-ending double play.
Columbia was held hitless the rest of the game. Meanwhile, UNLV plated two runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings to end all doubt. The two runs in the fifth came across on a dropped fly ball in left and a wild pitch. Ames hit a two-run double in the sixth before two unearned runs came across in the eighth.
Clark entered to begin the seventh and picked up the nine-out save. He retired all nine Lions in order, striking out four.