Arizona’s Friday night starter is back on track.
Chase Silseth allowed five hits over 6.1 innings, improving to 5-0 for the season (and 3-0 on Fridays) in a 5-1 win over Cal at Hi Corbett Field.
The sophomore right-hander was coming off his shortest outing of the season, a 4-inning performance last Thursday at ASU, but against a Cal lineup that trotted out seven consecutive lefty hitters at the top of the order he had some of his best stuff of the season.
In other words, his Friday stuff. Silseth’s ERA in four Friday starts is 1.07, compared to 8.18 in four starts on Thursday, and his strikeout rate on Fridays is 11.7 per nine innings compared to 8.2 on Thursday.
“With the lefties, I love going to the change-up,” said Silseth, noting that pitch dips away from the left side more than his others.
Silseth only allowed three runners to get into scoring position, the last coming in the seventh when he allowed back-to-back Golden Bears to reach with one out. That set the stage for Preston Price, who got a strikeout and a fielder’s choice to stop the rally.
Price put himself into a jam in the ninth, putting the first two runners on, before Vince Vannelle came on to finish things off. He allowed a sacrifice fly with one none out to end the shutout, which would have been Arizona’s second of the season and first since Silseth, Price and Vannelle were part of a five-hitter against Ball State.
Offensive, Arizona (20-8, 6-4 Pac-12) started slow but still put together meaningful at-bats that helped chase Cal starter Grant Holman after four innings. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the third on an RBI single from Branden Boissiere, who was 3 for 5 to raise his average to .387, and the damage could have been worse had Ryan Holgate not hit into a rare 4-6-3-2 double play to end the inning, with Donta’ Williams getting thrown out at home.
Arizona saw 83 pitches in the first four innings, deliberately being patient against a pitcher they knew was on a pitch count.
“We knew that working counts and seeing pitches often was going to pay off,” Boissiere said.
It did in the fifth when, against Cal reliever Sam Stoutenborough, the Wildcats strung together five straight hits with one out. Holgate’s 2-run double put Arizona up 3-0, then Daniel Susac singled in Holgate and Mac Bingham drove in the final run with a sacrifice fly.
Bingham, making his first start since March 21, was 1 for 3 and recorded his first RBI since March 14.
“I’m really happy with what Mac brought us tonight,” UA coach Jay Johnson said.
Arizona, which is off to its best start since the 2017 season—which was its last that included an NCAA Tournament appearance—will look to clinch a third straight Pac-12 series on Saturday when it hosts Cal (16-12, 4-3) at 6 p.m. PT at Hi Corbett.