MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball will open its inaugural Big 12 season this weekend at Kansas State for three games at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
Game one begins at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, game two begins at 3 p.m. on Saturday and first pitch for game three is noon on Sunday. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time.
The games will be carried by WVUsports.com and select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network, with Morgantown affiliate WAJR 1440 AM serving as the flagship station. Fans can access links to live video and live stats at WVUsports.com.
WVU (7-9) is coming of an 8-7 non-conference victory at Pitt last Tuesday in which designated hitter Matt Frazer
batted 4-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs. Kansas State most recently split two midweek games against Northern Colorado after falling in two of three games last weekend to Cal Poly.
"I’m actually pretty pleased. If things went a little differently at the end of games we could really be about 10-6 right now,” coach Randy Mazey says. “Our guys are playing hard and they’re competing real well. Every game it seems like it is decided in the last inning and anytime that’s the case, once you learn how to win those games, you can put up a lot more wins.”
Mazey is sending sophomore left-hander Harrison Musgrave
(1-1, 5.79 ERA) to the mound for the Mountaineers on Friday, followed by junior right-hander Corey Walter
(1-2, 4.02 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore left-hander John Means
(2-0, 0.45 ERA) on Sunday.
Means is second in the Big 12 in ERA (0.45), and he is No. 4 in the league in opponent batting average (.179). Junior right-hander Pascal Paul
currently is tied for No. 3 in the Big 12 in saves (2).
Kansas State coach Brad Hill will counter with sophomore right-hander Nate Williams (2-2, 2.96 ERA) on Friday, senior left-hander Joe Flattery (1-2, 4.87 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore right-hander Matt Wivinis (2-0, 4.81 ERA) on Sunday.
WVU sophomore center fielder Bobby Boyd
and junior left fielder Jacob Rice
rank No. 6 and No. 7, respectively, in Big 12 batting average. Boyd is hitting .409 (27-for-66) with 11 runs and is tied for No. 2 in the league with nine stolen bases. Rice is batting .403 (27-for-67) with six doubles, nine RBIs and four stolen bases.
WVU is ranked No. 3 in the Big 12 with a .303 team batting average. The Mountaineers have 29 doubles on the season and have recorded 26 steals. The Mountaineers are No. 8 in the league with a 4.06 team ERA, and opponents are hitting .281 against the WVU pitching staff.
Kansas State is led at the plate by sophomore infielder Shane Conlon, who is batting .422 with three doubles, two triples, three home runs and 13 RBIs. Junior infielder Ross Kivett is hitting .339 with four doubles and 11 stolen bases, and junior infielder RJ Santigate is batting .339 with two doubles and 13 RBIs.
Kansas State is hitting .312 as a team with 11 triple, nine home runs and 39 stolen bases. The Kansas State pitching staff has a 3.51 ERA with a .248 opponent batting average.
"They’re lined up to be the best offensive team in the conference and that just means we’re going to have to be on top of our game and match them offensively,” Mazey says. “We need to keep them under five or six runs a game."
This will be the first meeting between the schools.