Blais one-hits Hornets in Causeway pitcher's duel

Junior right-hander Matt Blais allowed just one hit in a complete game effort at Sacramento State on Tuesday night. (Photo by Wayne Tilcock/Davis Enterprise)
April 11, 2017

Box Score

SACRAMENTO -- UC Davis right-hander Matt Blais allowed just one hit and struck out a career high eight Sacramento State hitters in a complete-game effort on Tuesday night, but five Hornet pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout and lifted their team to a 1-0 victory over the Aggies at John Smith Field.

The loss dropped UC Davis to 9-17 overall on the year, managing just four base runners in the one-hour, 45-minute contest, with two reaching second base. Sacramento State evened its record at 16-16 overall, getting the only run it would need on a James Outman home run -- his fifth -- to lead off the second inning.

Blais (0-2) tossed the 10th one-hitter in the history of the program and the first since Vince DeCoito did so against Grand Canyon on March 27, 2004, in a 4-1 UC Davis victory. It was also the first complete game by an Aggie pitcher since Spencer Koopmans went the full nine innings against UC Irvine on April 17, 2015, in an 8-3 win on the road.

Prior to Tuesday night, the Aggies had thrown three, two-hitters during the program's Division I Era: Brad McAtee allowed just two hits against Pacific on March 29, 2008, in a 4-0 win, Dayne Quist did the same against Utah on Feb. 19, 2010, in a 4-1 victory, and Max Cordy, Raul Jacobson, and Zach Stone, combined on a two-hitter against Saint Mary's on April 22, 2014, in a 3-1 win.

Meanwhile, Austin Root (1-0) allowed just two hits over five innings, striking out three, to earn the win, while Alex Dentoni, who balked home the winning run in the ninth a week earlier at Dobbins Stadium, worked around two hits in the ninth for his third save, ending the game when Caleb Van Blake's bouncer to the right side hit Cameron Briggs, who led-off the ninth with a single, breaking from first base for the final out.

Van Blake, who finished 2-for-4 for his sixth multi-hit game of the year, singled in the first and stole second, but was caught too far from the bag when Ryan Anderson's liner to second was snagged out of mid-air for a double play. Brad Pluschkell also had a two-out single in the third and stole second, but was stranded there, for the only other UC Davis hits.

Following the home run, Blais retired the next nine consecutive hitters before a walk to Vinny Esposito to lead-off the fifth, and finished the game retiring the final 12 batters, facing just two over the minimum for the game. The eight strikeouts nearly doubled his previous career high of five set in last week's meeting with the Hornets at home, and were two off his combined season total of 10 entering the night.

Tuesday night marked the quickest game of the season for UC Davis, the sixth in the Division I era to be completed in less than two hours, and the fastest nine-inning contest since taking only 1:43 in a 1-0 win over Pacific on April 14, 2012.

The Aggies return to Big West Conference play with a three-game series against Cal Poly this weekend, beginning with Thursday's opener (April 13) at 2:30 p.m. at Dobbins Stadium. The scene shifts to Raley Field -- home of the San Francisco Giants' Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats -- in West Sacramento, Calif., on Friday night (April 14) at 6 p.m., before concluding on Saturday (April 15) with the dedication of Phil Swimley Field prior to the 1 p.m. first pitch.

Sacramento State 1, UC Davis 0 (Apr 11, 2017 at Sacramento, Calif.)
UC Davis............ 000 000 000  -  0  4  0      (9-17)
Sacramento State.... 010 000 00X  -  1  1  0      (16-16)
Pitchers: UC Davis - Blais, Matt and Diaz, Ignacio. Sacramento State - Root, Austin; Olson, Tanner(6); Fox, Ty(7); Perry, Chad(8); Dentoni, Alex(9) and Bacho, Dawsen.
Win - Root, Austin (1-0)  Save - Dentoni, Alex (3)  Loss - Blais, Matt (0-2)  T-1:45  A-402
HR SAC - Outman, James (5).
Weather: 65, Mostly Cloudy