Just over a week removed from his collegiate debut, a 9-1 Virginia win over St. Peter’s, freshman hurler Trey Oest was back on the mound for the Cavaliers and head coach Brian O’Connor on Wednesday afternoon at Davenport Field against George Washington.
The matchup pitted two teams going in opposite directions in the early portion of the 2013 season. The Colonials arrived in Charlottesville winless, while UVa was looking to keep its perfect record alive.
Oest, along with his buddies at the plate, made sure that unblemished record remained in tact. The first-year right-hander tossed five scoreless innings and got plenty of run support in Virginia’s 11-0 shutout of George Washington.
“From the get go, I knew I didn’t have my best stuff today, so I needed to get batters out early,” Oest said. “I tried not to get into deep counts to keep my pitch count low, so mostly I just tried to get quick outs.”
The Virginia offense pounded out 15 hits, highlighted by a five-run eighth inning.
“I thought overall in this ballgame we did some good things at times,” O’Connor said. “I don’t want to sit up here and be critical because we won an 11-0 game, but there are still some things that we have to get better at as a team.”
Three of Oest’s five innings pitched were thrown without a blemish as he sat down the Colonials (0-6) 1-2-3 in the first, third and fifth innings which included a nine-pitch fifth inning, his last of the day.
“I thought Trey Oest went out there and gave us a quality start,” O’Connor said of his freshman. “Hopefully as he continues to progress, he continues to get better and better.
“We are all constantly trying to improve.”
Oest’s three relievers also stymied the Colonials, throwing four innings of shutout baseball.
Kyle Crockett saw his first action of the season, giving up two hits and striking out one in 1 2/3 innings of work.
“Kyle has been out the first couple of weeks with a nagging back injury,” O’Connor said. “Today was the first day that we could get him out there and I thought he did a great job of buckling down out there today.
“It’s good to have him back.”
After a four-run sixth inning, the Cavaliers (8-0) tacked on a run in the home half of the seventh inning in unorthodox fashion.
Nick Howard capped off a string of four straight infield singles to record his seventh RBI of the season making it 6-0 Virginia after seven innings.
Howard went 2-for-4 on the day with three RBI.
Center fielder Brandon Downes recorded three hits, highlighted by a fourth inning solo home run that gave Virginia the 1-0 lead.
“I was trying keep my weight back and I got a 2-0 count,” Downes said. “Most of the pitches were up in the zone and I got a fastball down the middle and put a good swing on it.”
He added another RBI in the bottom of the eighth inning, driving in Derek Fisher to give the Cavaliers a 9-0 lead. UVa tacked on two more runs in the inning with Howard’s two-RBI double to make it 11-0.
Virginia is back in action on Friday when it hosts Harvard.