Patrick Bayardi, the UNLV right fielder, came into the Mountain West Conference Tournament leading Division I in career hits, RBI and total bases and it figures there would be a big one or two in there somewhere. The senior is a three-time first-team all-conference selection, has led the Rebels in home runs and RBI the past two seasons.
But in his first at-bat on Thursday against San Diego State right-hander Michael Cederoth, Bayardi struck out with runners at first and second. And in his second at-bat, he struck out looking when leading off the fourth inning.
But coming up with the bases loaded in the fifth, Bayardi crushed the first pitch he got from Cederoth over the wall in left center field, the grand slam, his 11th home run this season, leading the Rebels to a 6-3 victory in Game 4 of the tournament at Beiden Field.
UNLV (37-18) will play New Mexico or Nevada in Game 8 on Friday at 7 p.m. The Aztecs (27-29) at either 11 a.m or 3 p.m. will play an opponent to be determined – the lowest losing seed from Games 4 and 5 plays at 11 a.m. and the highest losing seed from those games plays at 3 p.m.
Fresno State, which beat Air Force in an elimination game on Thursday, plays in the 11 a.m. game.
Bayardi struck out for a third time in the seventh against Aztecs’ reliever Ethan Miller, making it an all or nothing afternoon. But UNLV was able to add a run there on a RBI single by Patrick Armstrong, backing some solid pitching from starter Erick Fedde and relievers Brayden Torres and Kenny Oakley.
Fedde allowed seven hits and three runs in 7 1/3 innings, improving to 7-3.
On the grand slam, Bayardi said in the following video that he was looking to do something early in the count.