Don Price forced sportswriters and broadcasters to pull out their dusty, shelf-bound thesauruses during a 21-game tear near the end of the 1999 season.
‘Stellar’ simply wasn’t strong enough to explain the accomplishments and ‘unbelievable’ didn’t pertain to those who were watching it all unfold. Maybe the closest one could come to describing Price’s 21-game stretch was ‘Ruthian’.
From April 6-May 14, 1999, Price was locked in on opposing pitchers and, in the process, helped carry Nevada into the post-season. During the 21-game streak, Price went 37-for-89 (.417) with 21 home runs, 44 runs scored, and 54 RBI, an average of 2.6 RBI’s per game.
“Don had one of the greatest ‘hot streaks’ that I have ever seen,” said coach Gary Powers. “He carried us for a long while in the middle of the year.”
Price finished the year leading the Big West Conference in home runs (27), RBI (89), and slugging percentage (.762). In fact, the 6-foot, 210-pound first baseman enters his final season with the Wolf Pack averaging a home run every 10.2 at-bats.
A Louisville Slugger pre-season All-American, Price will be looked at to provide Nevada with not only a solid bat in the middle of the order, but the type of senior leadership critical to success.
“He is a steadying influence which all teams need to be successful,” Powers said.
Price will enter the 2000 season with an opportunity to break the Nevada and Big West career home run record of 62. He opens the season with 42 bombs, but Powers doesn’t think the numbers should concern Price.
“We do not want him to think he has to repeat what he has done in the past,” Powers said, “just play hard like always and enjoy the game.”
For 21 games last season, few enjoyed it more.
QUOTE FROM COACH POWERS
‘Don has great off-field power, giving him the ability to hit the ball using the entire field. When he keeps his swing short, he is a very good hitter.’
HIGH SCHOOL: Earned five letters competing in baseball and football at Reno HS in Reno, Nev. He was a pitcher and first basemen for the baseball team. He was a member of the 1994 zone championship baseball team and advanced to the state playoffs.
PERSONAL: A logistics major. Born 1/23/77. He is the son of Randy Price and Tracy Price-Pagni. He enjoys fishing, camping, and golf. His most memorable athletic moment was coming back after blowing out his knee as a freshman at Nevada.
Year BA G AB H R RBI 2B 3B HR SB/A SLG. 1997 .300 12 30 9 4 8 0 1 2 1/1 .567 1998 .343 45 166 57 43 58 12 1 13 1/2 .663 1999 .351 58 231 81 70 89 10 2 27 4/4 .762 Ttl .344 115 427 147 117 155 22 4 42 6/7 .710