LAS VEGAS — A little late-game drama gave the Saint Mary’s baseball team’s 2017 season opener some extra spice, but a seventh-inning RBI double and strong throwing down the stretch gave the Gaels a 6-4 Opening Day win win over UC Davis in the first game of the UNLV Classic at UNLV’s Wilson Stadium.
Edward Haus doubled on the very first pitch he saw from UCD’s brand new relief pitcher Matt Blais with one out in the seventh, clearing the bases for three RBIs and giving Saint Mary’s (1-0) a 6-3 lead. Blais had come in to replace the Aggies’ (0-1) Chris Brown (0-1), who had surrendered three singles and a walk to start the seventh.
Haus was one of three Gaels who had multiple hits. Eight of SMC’s starters reached base with seven getting hits. It was the second straight win in a season opener for Saint Mary’s after beating Seattle 10-5 to start last year.
Drew Strotman (1-0) fought off a ninth-inning rally by UC Davis to seal the victory. He gave up a one-out double and walk to bring the tying run to the plate. But he followed them with a force out at third and a swinging strikeout to end the game. Strotman replaced Opening Day starter Cameron Neff, who had five strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for a no-decision.
Charles Zaloumis went 2 for 2 with three RBIs and was single-handedly responsible for putting Saint Mary’s ahead 3-0 by the fourth inning. A two-run single in the second inning broke a scoreless tie, and his squeeze bunt in the fourth brought home the Gaels’ third run.
Kevin Milam got his first career hit as a Gael, getting an infield single in his first-ever at-bat in the bottom of the second. He later scored on Zaloumis’ RBI single. Zaloumis drove him in again in the fourth after Milam had drawn a seven-pitch leadoff walk. Joe Vranesh also got his first career hit with Saint Mary's on a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the eighth.
Saint Mary’s continues play at the UNLV Classic on Saturday against host UNLV. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Fans can follow live stats links on SMCGaels.com.
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