Aggies edged by Anteaters in series opener

May 24, 2018

Box Score

DAVIS, Calif.— Senior Brad Pluschkell extended his hitting streak to six games, while junior Caleb Van Blake tied the Division I record for single-game walks, and freshmen Joseph Myers and Tanner Murray each added a hit on the afternoon, but the Aggies would come up short to Big West colleague, UC Irvine, as the Anteaters recorded a 5-3 victory in Thursday’s series opener at Phil Swimley Field in Davis, Calif. 

Drawing passes in the first, fifth, and seventh innings of Thursday's opener, junor Caleb Van Blake tied the Division I era record for single-game walks, logging three on the afternoon--one shy of the all-time program record. Van Blake is the first Aggie to draw three walks since Jacob Thomas tied the record at Arizona State on March 13, 2016.

The Aggies fell to 16-35 on the season and 7-15 in Big West play with the loss, while the Anteaters improved to 32-22 with a 13-9 league mark. The Aggies will look to even the series in game two scheduled to start at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow (May 25) at Phil Swimley Field. 

Senior Matt Blais (4-8, 5.55 ERA) tossed the final innings of his UC Davis career on Thursday, allowing four earned runs on eight hits over 6.1 innings, striking out a pair. He finishes the 2018 season with 50 strikeouts over 84.1 innings of work and ranks tied for fourth on the program's Divison I single-season list for games started with 14 notched in 2018. His career totals for innings pitched (225.2), appearances (67), games started (30), complete games (2), games finished (14), strikeouts (124), and pickoffs (9) also rank among the programs’ top ten Division I era records, while his 67 games pitched rank him sixth on the all-time career list. 

Freshman right-hander Brett Erwin entered in relief of Blais, allowing just one run on two hits and striking out three over the final 2.2 innings of play.

Andre Pallante (10-1) tossed a quality start for UC Irvine en route to the win, allowing three earned runs on three hits and striking out five over seven innings of work, while Jordan Bocko earned his eighth save of the year, providing two innings of scoreless hitless relief, striking out a pair. 

UC Davis jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the home half of the first, scoring on an RBI-single from Myers and a sacrifice fly from junior Cameron Briggs--his first of the season. 

The Anteaters would answer two innings later with a two-run effort of their own in the fourth, erasing the Aggies’ advantage.

But UC Davis continued to battle, reclaiming the lead in the bottom half of the inning after Briggs earned a pass with a drawn walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Senior Brad Pluschkell then recorded his 19th RBI of the season with a double to left center field—the Aggies’ lone extra-base hit of the afternoon--to make it 3-2. 

UC Davis maintained its one-run advantage until the Anteaters pushed two more runs across in the sixth, gaining their first lead of the day. 

The Aggies threatened in the bottom half of the inning after an error by the UC Irvine defense allowed Briggs to get aboard before advancing to second with his fourth stolen bag of the year. Sophomore Logan Denholm then drew his team-high 26th walk of the season to put runners on first and second, but the Aggies would come up empty. 

The Anteaters tacked on another run in the eighth to make it 5-3, but the fans at Phil Swimely Field would see no other scores from either squad, lifting UC Irvine to a narrow two-run victory in the series opener.

Games two and three of the series are scheduled to begin on Friday (May 25) at 2:30 p.m. and Saturday (May 26) at 1 p.m., respectively. 

UC Irvine 5, UC Davis 3 (05/24/18 at Davis, Calif.)
UC Irvine........... 000 202 010  -  5 10  1      (32-22, 13-9 Big West)
UC Davis............ 200 100 000  -  3  3  0      (16-35, 7-15 Big West)
Pitchers: UC Irvine - Pallante, Andre; Bocko, Jordan(8) and Reitano, Matt; Mazur, Griffin.
UC Davis - Blais, Matt; Erwin, Brett(7) and Denholm, Logan.
Win-Pallante, Andre(10-1)  Save-Bocko, Jordan(8)  Loss-Blais, Matt(4-8)  T-2:42  A-127
Weather: Sunny, 75 degrees, S 14 mph



Providing a small-town community feel while providing a world-class academic experience, UC Davis is home to more than 37,000 students and centrally located between San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and the Napa Valley. The No. 6-ranked public university in the nation according to the Wall Street Journal, and among the top 10 public universities nationwide according to U.S. News and World Report, UC Davis offers nearly 100 graduate programs and more than 100 academic majors across four colleges and six professional schools, ranking among the world and nation's best in numerous disciplines, including veterinary science, agriculture, and animal science programs.

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