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UNLV bats quieted in 11th straight loss

When he took the mound, UNLV right-hander Craig Heyer wanted to do enough to keep his team in the game. He did his job but still walked off the mound empty-handed.

Heyer started by throwing four scoreless innings Friday night. The end result was the Rebels’ 11th consecutive loss.

“Our team is struggling right now,” said Heyer, who allowed three runs in the fifth inning in a 4-2 loss to Utah at Wilson Stadium.

UNLV dropped to 14-30 overall and 3-10 in the Mountain West Conference, and the reasons were not related to poor pitching or defensive deficiencies.

“That’s a pathetic offensive performance,” Rebels coach Buddy Gouldsmith said.

Utes junior right-hander Stephen Fife, making his second start of the season, allowed three hits and three walks in six scoreless innings.

Fife (5-1) struck out six as four Utah pitchers combined to strike out UNLV hitters 12 times.

Fife threw four no-hit innings before the Rebels’ Efren Navarro Jr. led off the fifth with a single.

“We didn’t hit (Fife) well, which was a real disappointment,” Gouldsmith said. “To have that kind of lack of fight at the plate … we didn’t put the ball in play.

“I thought the pitchers and the defense did their job. I would guess that if you hold a team to four runs, I think in college baseball you should probably win 85 to 90 percent of the time.”

Heyer, a junior from the Community College of Southern Nevada, allowed five hits and struck out five in five innings

“You’ve just got to try to stay out of the big inning,” said Heyer, who walked three, hit a batter and gave up an infield single in the three-run fifth inning. “We’re all staying positive out here.

“We’re going to overcome it. We’re going to come around, and when it does happen, it’s going to be exciting to watch.”

Heyer (4-7) trailed 3-0 when he left the game. UNLV loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Navarro struck out and Chad Miller grounded out.

“I gave the team a chance to win, but you’re never satisfied with a loss,” Heyer said.

The Rebels threatened in the ninth, when Blake Gailen scored on Xavier Scruggs’ one-out triple. Gailen had two of the Rebels’ seven hits and scored both runs.

Utah closer Brett Bruneel struck out Michael Brenly and Jarred Frierson to earn his fourth save.

John Welsh doubled, tripled and drove in two runs for the Utes (20-21, 8-5).

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