All Preston Guilmet had to do Friday night was go out and throw strikes.
Sounds easy enough, and it was for the Arizona Wildcats pitcher, who moved into the No. 2 slot in the school record books for strikeouts in UA’s 13-4 win over California at Sancet Stadium.
Staked to a nine-run lead by the third inning, there was no reason for Guilmet to mess around or get too fine with his pitches.
“All you have to do is pound the strike zone,” he said. “Let them hit it. What is the worst thing that is going to happen? Nobody is going to hit an eight-run home run.
“There is no reason to nibble after guys. You pound the zone and go after them and throw a lot of strikes.”
UA will look for another win Saturday when the Wildcats (20-21, 6-13 Pac-10) host Cal (19-24, 6-13) at 6 p.m.
The series wraps up with a game at noon Sunday.
Guilmet recorded career strikeout No. 395 in the eighth inning against Blake Smith. He passed Don Lee (1954-56) and is 27 strikeouts away from Carl Thomas (1954-56) for the all-time record.
“I didn’t know that,” Guilmet said when asked about closing in on the record. “I will care when I leave, but right now every Friday night it is my job to go out there and get a good performance and get it to the bullpen and a chance to win.”
Cory Burns came in during the ninth inning, but Guilmet could have probably gone another frame if needed. The eight innings was his longest stint since a 7-0 victory over Oregon State almost a year ago.
Guilmet had more than just his fastball working as he struck out 10 Bears.
“He has command of his fastball again and he has gotten back to using all his pitches,” said UA catcher Dwight Childs. “He is working his splitter, he is working his slider and is working his fastball.
“When you are locating the fastball, the other pitches become even better.”
Guilmet has pitched better than his 4-4 record this season would attest. He has a 3.47 ERA, but has not been given much run support.
The Wildcats gave him plenty this time. Arizona scored five runs in the first and kept the hits coming.
Bryce Ortega opened with a walk against Cal starter Matt Flemer. Dillon Baird then hit a line-drive double off the right field wall for the first run.
Jett Bandy followed with a shot in nearly the same direction for a 2-0 lead.
Brad Glenn singled through the left side of the infield. Steve Selsky came up next for the exact same type of a hit for a quick three-run cushion.
Bobby Coyle followed with a run-scoring single before Childs’ squeeze bunt brought in the last run of the frame.
Flemer threw 31 pitches before getting his first out.
The Wildcats didn’t let up, scoring three more in the second inning.
Baird had a triple to get it started before Selsky singled in a run and Coyle tripled for an 8-1 lead.
Guilmet did the rest.
UA CAREER STRIKEOUTS
Rank, Player Years Total
1. Carl Thomas 1954-56 422
2. Preston Guilmet 2006-09 395
3. Don Lee 1954-56 394
4. Jim Nichols 1963-65 333
5. David Baldwin 1957-59 312