Wahoos roll in home opener over Peacocks - The Daily Progress: Cavalierinsider

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Wahoos roll in home opener over Peacocks

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Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 12:00 am

The way his parents imagined it close to two decades ago, Trey Oest would have already made his collegiate athletic debut before Monday. It’s February now, so the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder might have already made a few no-look passes or, for his namesake, stroked a couple 3-pointers.

“My mom played in college, my dad played in college,” Oest said. “And they expected me to play basketball. But I did one year of it when I was really little and didn’t enjoy it. ... I just didn’t like running up and down the court.”

Monday, he sprinted occasionally — the to-and-fro route involving Virginia’s dugout and the pitcher’s mound. The sport he chose was baseball.

Adhering to his folks’ request, Oest can still deliver a slam-dunk.

The freshman right-hander welcomed himself to the college game with a dazzling six-inning, one-hit performance as No. 25 UVa rolled to a 9-1 win over Saint Peter’s in the 2013 Davenport Field opener before 2,333 spectators.

“I felt really well prepared with all the things [pitching coach Karl Kuhn] puts us through,” Oest said. “It wasn’t nerves. It was more excitement and I was anxious to get out there and make my debut.

“I just went from there.”

With a smooth, controlled style that didn’t light up the radar gun, but gave the Peacocks (0-1) fits all afternoon.

Saint Peter’s didn’t get its first base runner until Chris Grimes led off the fifth inning with a walk. Its first hit didn’t come until the sixth when Matt Mancini roped a single to right field.

Both Peacocks got into scoring position before Oest ended their chances. In the fifth, he got Robert Moore to ground out harmlessly to second to keep Grimes at third. In the sixth, he benefited from a Jared King diving stop at first to keep Mancini at second.

“Trey is what we call a command pitcher,” said Wahoo coach Brian O’Connor. “He’s not going to overpower you with his stuff. He’s not going to throw in the low 90s. He’s going to try to overpower you with his command and his ability to mix pitches.

“That’s what he did today, certainly.”

Oest struck out four batters before giving way to fellow rookie hurlers Cameron Tekker and David Rosenberger.

It was the second game this season the Cavaliers (3-0) have strictly used freshman pitchers.

Their team ERA is 3.33.

“It’s definitely a really talented freshman pitching class,” Oest said. “We get along great and we’re all performing and doing what we need to do to get the job done.”

It helps, too, that they’ve been supported by a potent lineup.

Center fielder Brandon Downes led the charge Monday with a 3-for-4 showing that included a fifth inning home run.

A native of South Plainfield, N.J., Downes played high school ball against Saint Peter’s starter Zack Hopf.

He was well educated on Hopf’s tendencies.

“I kind of knew what he had and how he was going to throw me,” Downes said.

Especially on his bomb to the Hoo Zone in left field.

“I was trying to pay attention to how he was pitching to everyone,” Downes said. “And it seemed like he was throwing first-pitch slider, slider-early — just pitching in reverse. I just came up there and knew I was, hopefully, going to get a first-pitch slider.

“And I just took a swing at it.”

Downes’ shot got UVa’s lead to 3-0. The final six runs came in the seventh and eighth innings, highlighted by a Reed Gragnani RBI triple.

Virginia has scored 25 of its 38 runs this season in innings seven-through-nine.

“I think it shows something,” O’Connor said. “The guys get better as the game goes on. Certainly, this run production, I would love for it to continue, but it’s not reality.

“It’s going to come down to ‘How do you pitch?’ and ‘How do you play defense?’”

Monday, that pitching part passed courtesy of a once-hardwood-bound athlete out of Dover, Fla.

“It gives me a lot of confidence just to know that I can make it through college baseball as a pitcher,” Oest said. “It was definitely a big boost and helpful.”

Today, Virginia will throw sophomore righty Nick Howard against William & Mary (1-2). First pitch from Davenport is scheduled for 3 p.m.

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