Preston Price has been far and away Arizona’s most reliable relief pitcher this season, but his impressive start to 2021 hit a snag in the Wildcats’ Pac-12 opener Friday night at UCLA.
The senior threw a four-pitch walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Bruins a 3-2 win in Los Angeles.
Price, who had allowed only two earned runs and four walks in 12.1 innings entering the night, walked three in the ninth though one was intentional after an infield single and an error gave UCLA runners on second and third with one out.
Arizona trailed 2-0 with two out in the eighth when Donta’ Williams doubled and Jacob Blas hit a 2-run home run to tie the game. The Wildcats (12-5, 0-1) finished with six hits, two by Jacob Berry, but also struck out a season-high 13 times against three UCLA pitchers.
UA starter Chase Silseth was strong over 6.2 innings, striking out nine while allowing two runs and five hits.
Arizona and UCLA play the second of their 3-game series at 2 p.m PT Saturday.