DAVIS, Calif. -- Sacramento State right-hander Alex Dentoni balked home UC Davis senior Jacob Thomas with the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning, as the host Aggies edged the Hornets, 7-6, in a non-conference contest on Tuesday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium.
UC Davis won for the third time in its last four games, improving to 9-13 overall on the season, while winning the third straight in the series with Sacramento State. The Hornets, who rallied for three runs in the seventh to tie the game at six, fell to 14-13 overall with the loss.
Thomas led off the decisive frame by being hit by a pitch, but it almost looked as if Sacramento State would force extra innings after Dentoni (3-1) got a fly ball and a strikeout for two quick outs. However, on the strikeout, Thomas took off for second and went to third when the throw from the catcher sailed into centerfield, putting the winning run 90 feet away.
Senior Cameron Olson was then intentionally walked to put runners on the corners with two out and bring Ignacio Diaz to the plate. The Aggies' senior catcher, however, didn't get a chance to swing the bat as Dentoni was called for the balk prior to the first pitch, bringing Thomas home with the winning run.
Junior Zach Stone (3-1) earned the win in relief for the UC Davis, striking out three and allowing just one hit in two innings of work, retiring the side in order in the eighth and stranding the potential winning run at third in the ninth with a strikeout and two fly balls.
After the Aggies had scored first in each of their previous four games, it was the opponents' turn to take the early lead as the Hornets struck for two in the third and another in the fourth for a 3-0 advantage. It didn't last long, however, as UC Davis sent 10 batters to the plate as part of a four-run fourth, getting an RBI single by Ryan Anderson and then loading the bases with one out on a hit batter and a walk.
Junior Alex Aguiar then plated a second run on an infield single deep in the hole at short, junior Ryan Hooper was hit by a pitch to drive in another, and freshman Steve Ouellette drew a five-pitch walk to complete the comeback and push across the go-ahead run.
Starter Austin Roberts was then replaced by Austin Root, who escaped any further damage for the Hornets with a pair of strikeouts to leave the bases loaded.
The Aggies weren't done, however, putting runners on the corners with one out and scoring when Diaz's comebacker to the mound was thrown into centerfield by the Sacramento State pitcher, allowing Olson to be safe at second and scoring Caleb Van Blake to make it a two-run game. Van Blake, who finished 2-for-5, then added on, slugging his first career home run with two outs in the sixth, clearing the wall in right for a 6-3 lead.
UC Davis' advantage didn't last long as Sacramento State quickly bounced back with three runs in its half of the seventh to tie the game. Three straight hits loaded the bases with no outs as the Hornets scored one on a sacrifice fly by Andrew McWilliam, and tied the game two batters later when James Outman singled to right with runners at second and third to make it six-all.
Junior right-hander Matt Blais started for the Aggies, striking out the side in the first and finishing with a season-high five over six innings of work, earning a no-decision. Diaz, who walked in the fourth, and Aguiar, who singled in the fourth, have now reached base safely in each of the last 12 games.
UC Davis returns to Big West Conference play this weekend in Southern California, heading to defending league champion Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series at Goodwin Field beginning Friday night (April 7) at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.com. The Titans rank as high as No. 10 in the nation in two polls and among the top 20 in three others.
UC Davis 7, Sacramento State 6 (Apr 04, 2017 at Davis, Calif.)
Sacramento State.... 002 100 300 - 6 10 2 (14-13)
UC Davis............ 000 411 001 - 7 7 2 (9-13)
Pitchers: Sacramento State - Roberts, Austin; Root, Austin(4); Dillon, Justin(6); Olson, Tanner(7); Dentoni, Alex(8) and Bacho, Dawsen. UC Davis - Blais, Matt; Brown, Chris (7); Peters, Blake (7); Loar, Connor (7); Stone, Zach (8) and Diaz, Ignacio.
Win - Stone, Zach (3-1) Loss - Dentoni, Alex (3-1) T-2:59 A-209
HR UCD - Van Blake, Caleb (1).
Weather: 72 deg.; mostly clear; S2 mph
Brown faced 3 batters in the 7th.