CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Five Virginia pitchers combined to limit Towson University (13-10) to one run on eight hits as the fifth-ranked Cavaliers (23-2) handed Towson a 7-1 loss at Davenport Field on Wednesday evening. The victory extended Virginia’s winning streak to five games in a row.
Freshman righthander Trey Oest pitched the first 4.2 innings for the Cavaliers and he held the Tigers to one run on five hits. The four relief pitchers that followed him combined to shut out the Tigers on three hits the rest of the way.
Cavalier pitching walked only one batter and struck out 12 batters.
The Cavaliers broke open a scoreless game when they sent 10 hitters to the plate in a five-run third inning. First baseman Jared King started the inning when he reached second base on a dropped fly ball by leftfielder Peter Bowles. After junior righthander Nik Nowottnick walked Joe McCarthy, centerfielder Brandon Downes singled to right, driving in the first run of the game. Leftfielder Derek Fisher followed with an RBI single up the middle to give Virginia a 2-0 lead. An RBI single by designated hitter Mike Papi plated another run to give Virginia a 3-0 advantage.
Freshman righthander Garrett Walther relieved Nowottnick after Papi’s single. He struck out Nick Howard for the first out. Second baseman Reed Gragani bunted back to the mound as another run scored while Walther threw him out at first base. After a walk to catcher Robbie Coman, shortstop Branden Cogswell singled to right, scoring the fifth run of the inning. Walther struck out King to end the rally.
In the fifth inning, the Tigers broke through and scored. With one out, junior second baseman Pat Fitzgerald drew a walk. After he stole second base, junior shortstop Hunter Bennett singled to right as Fitzgerald scored to make it a 5-1 game. When designated hitter Cody Reeves singled, the Tigers had two runners on base. However, Oest struck out Blosser for the second out. At that point, Nathan Kirby came in from the bullpen and struck out Zach Fisher to end the threat.
The Cavaliers added two runs in the sixth inning with a two-out rally. A walk to Downes started the rally. Derek Fisher’s double to right scored Downes to make it a 6-1 lead. Papi followed with a double to left center to up the lead to 7-1. Howard grounded out to end the inning.
Coach Mike Gottlieb used seven pitchers in the loss. Walther pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief while freshman righthander Joe Patton threw 1.1 innings of scoreless relief. Freshman Lee Lawler also threw one shutout inning.
“We were pleased with how some of our freshmen pitched,” said Gottlieb. “These are guys who we are going to need on the weekends and it was good to see them do well. We also played good defense and turned three double plays.”
Towson has now turned 33 double plays in 23 games and ranks among the national leaders.
Virginia outhit Towson by a 9-8 margin as Downes, Papi and Derek Fisher each had two hits.
Sophomore Brendan Butler led Towson with two hits as he extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
The Tigers return to action on Friday when they visit the University of Pittsburgh for a doubleheader against the Panthers.