Steven Matz came close to making history at Aces Ballpark Friday night.
The Las Vegas 51s lefthander didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the seventh inning as the 51s rolled over the Aces 12-0 in front of a crowd of 6,545. The victory gave the 51s a split in the four-game Pacific Coast League series after losing the first two games.
Aces third baseman Nick Evans grounded a 2-2 pitch between shortstop and third base to break up Matz’s gem. The 23-year-old finished his night by giving up two hits (Garret Weber singled immediately after Evans) in seven innings, while striking out five and walking one. Matz, a second round draft pick of the New York Mets in 2009 out of Melville High School in Setauket, New York, is now 2-1 this season with a 2.01 earned run average in four games (three starts).
Matz completely dominated the Aces hitter through the first 6.2 innings. The only Aces baserunner to that point was Peter O’Brien, who walked with two outs in the fourth. Matz retired the first 11 Aces hitters on just 33 pitches.
The 6-foot-2 Matz then retired the next nine Aces hitters in a row after walking O’Brien. He also made the defensive play of the game to keep his no-hitter alive in the fourth inning, running over to the third base line to field a slow roller off the bat of Kevin Frandsen and firing to first for the out.
The 51s led the entire game, scoring a run in the top of the first off Aces starter Vidal Nuno on a single by Matt Reynolds to take a 1-0 lead. Nuno lasted six innings, allowing five runs on nine hits. He allowed back-to-back home runs in the fifth inning to Reynolds (a two-run shot) and Alex Castellanos as the 51s scored four times to take a 5-0 lead.
Castellanos was 3-for-5 with three runs scored.
The 51s scored three runs in the eighth off Aces reliever Willy Paredes. Castellanos started the inning with a double as Brandon Allen, Kyle Johnson and Dilson Herrera kept it going with singles.
The game then turned comical in the top of the ninth as Aces shortstop Danny Worth took the mound. Worth, who made two appearances as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers last season, allowing four hits and a run in two innings, struggled to get through the inning. He allowed four runs on two hits, two walks and also hit two batters.
Zack Thornton pitched a shutout eighth inning and Jack Leathersich pitched a scoreless ninth in relief of Matz.
The Aces finished 4-4 on their first homestand of the season and now go on the road to Fresno and Las Vegas for eight games. The Aces, 8-8 on the year, will return to Aces Ballpark on May 4 against Sacramento.