LAS VEGAS -- Junior Johnathan Torres now has a walk-off home run on his collegiate resume as he powered UNLV (8-3, 3-0 Mountain West) to a 5-4 extra-innings win against UC Riverside (6-6) on Monday.
He let the first pitch go for a called ball in the bottom of the 10th inning and then drilled his only hit of the game as UNLV stayed undefeated at home.
“Their pitcher was throwing us off speed stuff and I really like hitting sliders,” Torres said. “I was looking for something to drive to right field and I got that inside pitch and hit a nice line drive over the wall.”
The Rebels opened the game by scoring a run in the bottom of the first inning when Joey Armstrong scored after T.J. White grounded out to the Highlanders’ third basemen.
UNLV would add another run in the bottom of the fifth inning before UCR rallied and tied the game in the top of the sixth.
The Rebels recaptured the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Patrick Armstrong hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring White from third. They would add one more run in the bottom of the seventh after White singled to left field, scoring Joey Armstrong, to give UNLV a 4-2 lead.
The Highlanders rallied, scoring runs in the top of the eighth and ninth innings and retired the Rebels in order in the bottom of the ninth to force an extra frame.
UNLV had to hold off the UCR rally in the 10th, as the Highlanders recorded two hits and got runners on the corners before Joey Lauria (1-0) was able to get the Highlanders’ best power threat, Nick Vilter, to strike out and then induced a pop fly to end the inning.
In the home half of the 10th inning, Zach Story-Baker and Edgar Montes were retired via ground-out to third and a strike out, respectively, before Torres was able to seal the victory.
“We pitched pretty well tonight but we need to play better defensively,” head coach Tim Chambers said. “We also need to have better at bats, but at the end of the day our kids found a way to win and that is huge for us.”
Kenny Oakley got the start for the Rebels and did not allow a run on five hits and struck out six in five innings of work. Cody Roper and Brayden Torres each pitched in relief before Joey Lauria enter the game in the 10th inning and allowed no runs on two hits and recorded a strikeout to earn the win.
Justin Jones (2-for-5), Erik VanMeetren (2-for-4) and A.J. Hernandez (2-for-4) all had multiple hits in the game. As a team the Rebels tallied 10 total hits as the Highlanders recorded 14, but UCR left 17 runners on base, while UNLV left 10.