MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team will close out the regular season this weekend against Big 12 foe Oklahoma State at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.
Thursday’s opener will begin at 7:30 p.m., Friday’s game is set for 7:30 p.m. and Saturday’s finale will be at 4 p.m. Friday’s matchup will be televised by Fox College Sports.
All three games can be heard on the affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network with the Morgantown affiliate WAJR 1440 AM serving as the flagship station.
The Mountaineers (30-22, 12-9 Big 12) enter the weekend series in second place, trailing Kansas State by two games in the Big 12 standings. The Cowboys (36-13, 11-9 Big 12) currently sit in fourth place in the conference.
“They play with a lot of confidence and it is an unbelievable coaching staff. They’re all new and they’re all really good friends of mine, which never makes it fun to play against them,” coach Randy Mazey says. “It’s going to be a pretty cut-throat weekend. Their park is an offensive place, so hopefully our power and extra-base hits will show up down there.”
Mazey will send senior right-hander Dan Dierdorff
(4-6, 4.82 ERA) to the mound for Thursday’s opener, while sophomore left-hander John Means
(4-3, 3.61 ERA) will start on Friday. Saturday’s starter has yet to be determined.
WVU has the seventh-best team ERA in the Big 12 at 3.94, the lowest the team ERA has been since the 1974 staff posted a 3.04 ERA. The team is batting at a .281 clip, ranking fourth in the conference.
Junior third baseman Ryan Tuntland
leads the Mountaineers at the plate, batting .343 on the year with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and 31 RBIs. Junior left fielder Jacob Rice
is hitting .327 with 12 doubles, two homers, 24 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Junior first baseman Ryan McBroom
has 16 doubles, 11 homers and 43 RBIs to lead the team in all three categories, while junior designated hitter Matt Frazer
has 12 doubles, six homers and 36 RBIs. Senior right fielder Brady Wilson
and sophomore center fielder Bobby Boyd
have 18 and 15 stolen bases, respectively.
Oklahoma State coach Josh Holliday is expected to start sophomore right-hander Jason Hursh (5-4, 2.67 ERA) on Thursday, sophomore left-hander Tyler Nurdin (3-2, 2.01 ERA) on Friday and junior right-hander Mark Robinette (5-0, 3.38 ERA) in Saturday’s finale.
The Cowboys are No. 3 in the Big 12 with a 2.78 staff ERA, while the offense is ranked No. 2 with a .291 batting average.
Oklahoma State is led at the plate by junior outfielder Saulyer Saxon, who is hitting .344 with seven doubles, one triple and 16 RBIs. Five players have 10 or more doubles, including sophomore infielder Zach Fish with 16 doubles, seven homers and 39 RBIs.
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series (3-0) as West Virginia was swept, opening the 1996 season in Stillwater.