MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team plays its first conference road series of the season this weekend when the Mountaineers travel to St. John’s for three games at Jack Kaiser Stadium in Jamaica, N.Y.
Game one and game two each begin at 3 p.m., on Friday and Saturday, respectively, while Sunday’s series finale begins at 1 p.m.
WVU, which has lost six of its last seven games, is looking to win its first conference game of the season after being swept at home last weekend by Connecticut.
Sophomore right-hander Corey Walter
(2-3, 4.82 ERA) will start Friday's game for the Mountaineers, followed by redshirt sophomore left-hander Marshall Thompson
(2-4, 5.56 ERA) on Saturday and junior right-hander Dan Dierdorff
(3-2, 5.06 ERA) on Sunday.
Walter and Dierdorff are currently tied for ninth in the BIG EAST in innings pitched (37.1), while Dierdorff is also ninth in strikeouts (33) and sophomore righty Ryan Tezak
is tied for third with four saves.
St. John’s coach Ed Blankmeyer will counter with junior left-hander Sean Hagan (3-1, 2.59 ERA) on Friday, junior right-hander Kyle Hansen (1-4, 3.45 ERA) on Saturday and junior right-hander Eddie Medina (2-1, 3.38 ERA) on Sunday.
WVU freshman center fielder Bobby is the leading hitter, batting .321 (25-for-78) with two doubles, one home run and seven RBIs. Redshirt sophomore left fielder Matt Frazer
is batting .308 with 12 runs, 13 doubles, one homer and 11 RBIs, and junior shortstop John Polonius
is hitting .302 with two doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs.
WVU is ranked No. 11 in the BIG EAST with a .244 team batting average, while the Mountaineers are No. 12 in the league with a 6.94 team ERA, and opponents are hitting .315 against the WVU pitching staff.
St. John’s is led at the plate by senior infielder Matt Wessinger, who is batting .362 with six doubles, one triple, four homers, 20 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. Junior third baseman Sean O’Hare is hitting .320 with seven doubles, three homers and 18 RBIs, and junior outfielder Jeremy Baltz is batting .312 with three doubles, three triples, four home runs and 20 RBIs.
St. John’s is hitting .263 as a team with 15 home runs and 51 stolen bases in 64 attempts. The Red Storm pitching staff has a 4.67 ERA with a .260 opponent batting average.
St. John’s leads WVU, 29-19, in a series that began in 1902. The teams last met in 2009 at St. John’s when the Red Storm took two of three from the Mountaineers. WVU won the series finale in 13 innings to take a game.