Baseball: WVU Welcomes Villanova

  • By Grant Dovey
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  • April 04, 2012 03:48 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University (12-18, 1-5) baseball team resumes BIG EAST action this weekend as the Mountaineers play host to Villanova (15-4, 2-4) at Hawley Field.

Thursday’s and Friday’s games each start at 5 p.m., while Saturday’s contest is set to begin at 1 p.m. Saturday’s series finale also serves as a Dollar Day, where all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas are available for purchase for just one dollar.

Audio for Friday’s and Saturday’s games will be streamed over MSNsportsNET.com and carried on WAJR 1440-AM with Kyle Wiggs handling the play-by-play and Ernie Galusky providing color commentary.

Coach Greg Van Zant will send sophomore right-hander Corey Walter (2-3, 5.40 ERA) to the mound on Thursday for the Mountaineers, while sophomore left-hander Marshall Thompson (3-4, 4.68 ERA) wil start on Saturday. Friday's starting pitcher has yet to be determined.

Walter is the lone WVU starter in the BIG EAST rankings, coming in at No. 10 in the BIG EAST in innings pitched (43.1).

Villanova Coach Joe Godri will counter with senior left-hander Kyle Helisek (2-3, 6.43 ERA) on Thursday, junior right-hander Stephen Ostapeck (2-1, 5.57 ERA) on Friday and sophomore right-hander Pat Young (4-3, 3.60 ERA) on Saturday.

WVU has a team cumulative batting average of .246, which ranks 11th in the BIG EAST. The Mountaineers have collected 15 homers and 24 stolen bases in 37 attempts. WVU is No. 12 in the league with a 6.70 team ERA.

WVU sophomore left fielder Matt Frazer leads the BIG EAST in doubles (13), while sophomore first baseman Ryan McBroom is tied for fourth in the category with 10. Freshman center fielder Bobby Boyd is third in the conference with 14 stolen bases, while junior right fielder Brady Wilson is tied for sixth in the BIG EAST with 17 walks.

McBroom leads the team in batting average with a .306 mark, while scoring 13 runs, hitting three homers and driving 22 RBIs. Frazer is batting .304 with 15 runs, two homers and 12 RBIs, while Wilson has scored 20 runs with one double, two triples, three home runs and 11 RBIs.

The Villanova pitching staff has a cumulative 4.71 team ERA, which ranks seventh in the BIG EAST. Young is tied for fifth in the league with four wins, while Ostapeck is second with two shutouts.

Villanova is hitting .300 as a team (No. 3 in the BIG EAST) with seven homers and 30 steals in 42 attempts. The Wildcats are led at the plate by Tyler Sciacca, who is batting .419 with 24 runs, 11 doubles, five triples, one homer, 25 RBIs and nine stolen bases.

Matt Fleishman is hitting .395 with 29 runs, 12 doubles, four triples, four homers and 25 RBIs, while Kevin Wager is batting .347 with eight doubles, one triple and a team-high 26 RBIs.

WVU leads the series with Villanova, 26-15, though the Wildcats recorded two wins over the Mountaineers last season in Plymouth Meeting, Pa. WVU has won six of its last eight BIG EAST regular-season series vs. Villanova. Villanova has never won a series in Morgantown since BIG EAST play started.