A trend has developed during the Virginia baseball team’s midweek games this season — plenty of run support and stellar pitching from freshman right-hander Trey Oest.
In the first three starts of his collegiate career, all wins, Oest’s ERA was 1.12 in 16 innings pitched and 138 of his 219 pitches thrown were for strikes, a 63 percent clip.
The trend continued on Tuesday evening as Oest had another strong outing and No. 11 Virginia (18-2) pounded out 12 hits in a 14-3 rout of Yale.
Oest, who moved his record to 4-0, tossed six innings (matching a career high) of three-hit baseball against the Bulldogs.
“We knew [Trey] was a strike thrower and aggressive on the mound,” Virginia coach Brian O’Conner said. “He’s got a great idea of what he’s doing out there and has done a great job in his starts this season.”
Fifty-seven of Oest’s 78 pitches were strikes, continuing the theme of his freshman season.
The 6-foot-3 Dover, Fla., native has now surrendered just 10 hits in 22 innings pitched.
“Each and every start, my confidence just gets greater and greater,” Oest said. “I just make sure I get the outs. I know I’m not going to blow it by anybody, so I just make the hitters get themselves out.”
UVa scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning without recording a hit. Jared King trotted home on a balk and Joe McCarthy crossed the plate on a wild pitch just a few moments after. The Cavaliers posted three runs in the inning before adding another in the bottom of the second on a King RBI single.
“I’m really proud and impressed with Jared,” O’Conner said of his senior leader. “His approach has been really good of late and he’s been a great leader for us.”
Virginia tacked on four more runs in the third inning with a pair of two-RBI singles coming from King and Branden Cogswell.
King went 2-for-3 with three RBI.
“I just think I’ve tried to simplify things,” King said. “I probably put a little too much pressure on myself those first couple of weekends.”
“I’ve gotten back to the basics and just focused on seeing the ball well and letting the hits come.”
That was all the run support Oest and the Cavaliers needed. Yale managed just the one run off a solo home run from David Toups in the fourth inning, Oest’s only blemish on the day.
“I gave up my first home run of the season,” Oest said in a jokingly fashion. “It’s something that you realize is going to happen eventually, so I’m just glad it happened in a game that we won.”
The Bulldogs’ other pair of runs came on a Josh Sharff two-run homer in the ninth inning.
Virginia added two more runs in the seventh inning with both RBIs coming from first-years. George Ragsdale hit a sacrifice fly to record his first RBI as a Cavalier. He was followed by Robbie Coman, who belted an RBI double in his first collegiate at bat.
UVa padded the lead with a four-run eighth inning, which was highlighted by a Kenny Towns two-run shot to left field. It was Towns’ fourth home run of the season along with a team-leading 24th and 25th RBIs.
Virginia looks to sweep the two-game series today when it hosts Yale at 5 p.m. at Davenport Field.