OXFORD, Miss. — History was made Saturday as Washington earned its first shutout in postseason history, defeating Georgia Tech 8-0 in the first game of the Oxford Regional.
The regional began a day later than scheduled due to inclement weather postponing Friday’s games. Washington advances to play Mississippi, a 12-2 winner over Jacksonville State, in the winners’ bracket game Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT.
Tyler Davis, the Huskies’ ace right-hander, threw Washington’s first complete game of the season with a four-hit, eight-strikeout performance.
“I’m really proud of Tyler and the way he competed,” Washington coach Lindsay Meggs said. “That’s been his MO all year long. No fear and goes after people. He throws strikes and puts the ball in play and we’ve played good defense behind him. While a nine-inning complete-game shutout isn’t a typical performance for (Davis), the way he battled is what he does.”
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Davis has gone at least eight innings in his past five starts. The 56 appearances before that he never made it to the eighth.
“This was definitely up there as one of my most fun and exciting performances,” Davis said. “I felt pretty good warming up. I trust our pitching coach, our catcher and the scouting report on the other team. As long as I execute pitches, I know that my defense is going to have my back and the offense is going to get enough runs.”
The offense definitely had Davis’ back Saturday afternoon. Washington jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an Austin Rei run-scoring single through the left side that plated center fielder Braden Bishop. Meggs felt the early lead was just what his team needed to settle in.
“I thought it was great for our guys just so they could take a deep breath,” Meggs said. “We brought them into the dugout after the first inning and said: ‘Hey, take a second and look at where we are. Nobody expected us to be here, so we gotta enjoy the moment and stay in the moment.’ ”
The Huskies broke the game open in the fourth with a four-run inning. With two outs, Georgia Tech intentionally walked Robert Pehl to load the bases. But Erik Forgione and Andrew Ely each had RBI singles, with a two-RBI single by Bishop in between them to allow the Huskies to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
Bishop led the Huskies with a 3-for-3 day with two runs batted in, two runs scored, two hits and two stolen bases. He also has enjoyed his time interacting with the Ole Miss fans in right field during the game.
“(Friday) was kind of an interesting experience with (the fans) chanting ‘Lets Go Huskies,’ ” Bishop said. “I had fun with it and these people are amazing and the fans are unbelievable. Really a first-class school. We are excited to be here and play in front of those guys.”
With Davis going the distance, that left the bullpen ready to go for the rest of the weekend. Meggs likes it that way.
“Nobody got to see anybody out of the bullpen,” Meggs said. “It’s not just we didn’t have to use anybody, but nobody saw our closer today. Nobody saw our set-up guys. So the first time they take the mound will be their first time to see them.”