Stephen Fife tossed six shutout innings Friday night in Las Vegas.
April 27, 2007
LAS VEGAS - University of Utah pitcher Stephen Fife got just his second starting assignment of the season Friday night at UNLV's Earl E. Wilson Stadium. Fife tossed six shutout innings and had a no-hitter through four innings, leading the Utes to a 4-2 win over the Rebels.
Utah (20-21, 8-5 MWC) and UNLV (14-30, 3-10 MWC) were locked in a pitchers' duel through the first four innings. Fife didn't allow a single Rebel hit through the first four frames, while UNLV starter Craig Heyer held the Utes scoreless as well.
The Utes finally broke through in the top of the fifth, using patience at the plate to score three runs. Third baseman Erich Kemp and second baseman Corey Shimada sandwiched a pair of walks around an infield single from center fielder Nate Burnham to lead off the inning. With the bases loaded, first baseman Jay Brossman drew an RBI walk. Heyer hit Utah's next batter - Dustin Hennis - pushing home another run. Utah right fielder John Welsh then lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, giving his team a 3-0 advantage.
That's all the offense the Fife and the Utah pitching staff would need. Fife held UNLV to just three hits through six innings. He struck out six Rebel batters, while issuing three walks. The Utes went on top 4-0 in the top of the seventh when Shimada singled, stole second and scored on a Welsh triple.
UNLV finally mustered a run against Utah in the seventh. Reliever Kerr Foster struggled, allowing a hit a walk and a run without recording an out in the seventh. But John James came in from the bullpen and got Utah out of the inning with a 4-1 lead. James tossed a scoreless eighth, getting the game to Ute closer Brett Bruneel in the ninth.
Welsh was 2-for-4 on the night with two RBIs to lead the Utes at the plate. Shimada was 1-for-4 and scored a pair of runs.
Game two of the three-game Mountain West Conference series is slated for 2 p.m. PDT on Saturday.