The University of Arizona baseball team opened up the 2021 season with a 3-0 victory over Ball State.
Chase Silseth, a sophomore transfer out of the College of Southern Nevada, started the game for the Wildcats tossing 5.2 innings of shutout ball with seven strikeouts while allowing just three hits and two walks.
Silseth was cruising through the Cardinals lineup up until the sixth inning when he walked right fielder Ross Mesina and hit first baseman Trenton Quartermaine to put two runners on base with two outs.
Arizona pitching coach Nate Yeskie went out to talk to Silseth before leaving him in the game, but the second hit batter of the inning for Silseth led to his departure where senior reliever Preston Price struck out center fielder Aaron Simpson on three pitches to escape the bases loaded jam.
Sophomore Ryan Holgate opened up the scoring for the Wildcats, drilling a double to right field in the first inning that scored Kobe Kato and Branden Boissiere for the first runs of the season for the Wildcats. Boissiere added in an RBI groundout with the bases loaded in the fifth inning, which was all this Arizona pitching staff needed Friday night under the lights at Hi Corbett field.
Here are three key stats that stood out in this game.
Zero runs allowed
After Silseth threw his 5.2 innings of scoreless ball, the bullpen followed up with a dazzling performance of their own as Price, Ian Churchill and Vince Vannelle combined for 3.1 innings of shutout ball and seven strikeouts with two hits and one walk allowed.
Vannelle’s shutout inning in the ninth earned him the save of the night.
Nine walks drawn
The Wildcats patience at the plate was in full display Friday night as they drew nine walks as a team. Donta Williams drew two walks himself, while seven of the nine starters all drew at least one walk.
2-11 with runners in scoring position
The Cardinals pitching is not one to mess with. There were a large number of scouts in attendance at this game and they weren’t there for just Silseth, but also Ball State starter Ty Weatherly. Arizona got the best of him Friday night as he lasted just four innings, throwing six of Ball State’s nine walks, but regardless the Cardinals bullpen combined to allow no runs on three hits with three walks and five strikeouts over four innings.
Arizona returns to the field on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. MST in game two of this four-game series against Ball State where right-hander Chandler Murphy is expected to take the mound for the Wildcats.
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