Bears softball can't stop Rebels' run
GREELEY, Colo. -- UNLV only uses the "runnin'" adjective for a few of its athletic programs, but the Rebels softball team is not one of them.
Too bad, too, because UNLV did exactly that against Northern Colorado on Thursday night at the Butler-Hancock Softball Field -- running up all its scoring in just two innings en route to an 8-1 nonconference victory.
The Rebels (26-17) put up four runs each in the third and seventh innings in the win, handing Northern Colorado (16-27) its fifth straight loss and keeping it in search of its program-record 17th victory this season.
The Bears managed just four hits Thursday night.
"We're definitely pressing right now, especially at the plate," Northern Colorado coach Jen Schunke said. "If you look at it, we had 38 hits combined against Utah Valley and Colorado State a few games ago, and now, tonight, we manage just four. Now, UNLV is a really good team, and they pitched really well tonight and had some good defense. But, still, we've got to get more than four hits in a ballgame if we're going to win."
The Bears will now turn their attention toward this weekend, where they will host the 2009 NCAA Division I Independent Softball Tournament. Play begins at 9:30 a.m. Friday, April 24, with North Dakota taking on South Dakota.
Northern Colorado will follow with its first pool play game against Cal State Bakersfield. The Bears are also scheduled to face Houston Baptist in pool play around 5 p.m.
The Bears jumped on top first against UNLV on Thursday night when Hillarie Van Otterloo plated Jessie Schoepflin in the first inning with a sharp single up the middle, giving Northern Colorado a 1-0 advantage.
Schoepflin had reached to lead off the game on an error by UNLV starting pitcher Stephanie Bregante, and freshman Melisa Ryba then followed by getting on base after the home-plate umpire ruled that Rebels catcher Brittany Bolinger interfered with her swing.
Other than that, though, it was an uneventful night at the plate for Northern Colorado.
Van Otterloo (5-7) started in the circle for the Bears and took the loss. She was solid for the first two innings but ran into some trouble in the third and wasn't able to make it out of the frame.
Van Otterloo allowed just one hit through the first two innings, but the third inning saw eight UNLV batters come to the plate, highlighted by Alyssia De La Torre's three-run triple that was ripped just past the reach of Northern Colorado shortstop Jessica McNabb.
The Rebels scored four more in the seventh, but that triple, in the end, really was the difference in the game.
"I was just trying to get a ground ball in that situation," Van Otterloo said. "As a pitcher, when you're put in a bad situation, you just are focused on doing what you can to get out of it. I just wasn't quite able to put out that fire and it really cost us."