MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two of the top teams in the Big 12 Conference standings meet this weekend in Morgantown, as the West Virginia University baseball team returns home to host No. 2 TCU, from April 15-17 at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The series against the reigning Big 12 champions begins on Friday, April 15, at 6:30 p.m. ET in a contest televised nationally on Fox College Sports Atlantic. Saturday’s first pitch is slated for 4 p.m. Sunday’s finale begins at noon, and will be broadcast locally on the Nexstar Media Group’s network of statewide affiliates.
Friday and Sunday’s contests are the first two games in Monongalia County Ballpark history to air on national or local television.
The Mountaineers (19-12, 6-3 Big 12) enter the weekend tied for second place in the Big 12 Conference with a 6-3 record. WVU has won three consecutive Big 12 weekend series, including two on the road at ranked opponents. West Virginia is 6-3 against top-25 teams, though this weekend’s series against TCU is the Mountaineers’ first against a ranked foe at home in 2017.
The Horned Frogs (27-5, 8-1 Big 12) are coming off a Big 12 tournament championship and College World Series appearance in 2016. TCU has been ranked in the top five in every major national poll in 2017, including the first four weeks as the unanimous No. 1 team in the country. The Horned Frogs are coming off a non-conference weekend sweep of Murray State.
TCU is the third of four teams on West Virginia’s 2017 schedule that advanced to the 2016 College World Series. WVU went 2-0 at Coastal Carolina, the defending national champions, won a series at Oklahoma State and hosts Texas Tech, along with this weekend’s series against TCU.
Junior righty BJ Myers
(3-2, 3.57) will get the start on Friday night, and he will face TCU right-handed sophomore Jared Janczak (6-0, 1.79 ERA). On Saturday, sophomore righty Michael Grove
(3-1, 2.72 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Mountaineers against freshman lefty Nick Lodolo (3-1, 4.93 ERA). The Horned Frogs will throw senior righty Brian Howard (5-2, 4.83 ERA) on Sunday, while West Virginia’s starter has not been determined.
A number of promotions and events are planned for this weekend, beginning with fireworks, presented by United Bank, following Friday night’s game. Saturday’s contest is family day, where fans can purchase four tickets and receive a $10 concession voucher for $25. Fans can also take photos with the Easter Bunny before the game and participate in a postgame Easter egg hunt on the field. The series concludes with kids day on Sunday, when kids can get autographs from the team and run the bases following the game. Mr. Twister’s balloon art and face painting will also be available on the party deck.
Tickets are available for all three games this weekend. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME
, purchasing tickets at WVUGAME.com
or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office at Gate A of Monongalia County Ballpark on gameday or in advance at the Gold Gate at the WVU Coliseum.
Two of this weekend’s games will air on national and local TV, the first televised games in Monongalia County Ballpark history. Friday night’s game will air nationally on Fox College Sports Atlantic, with Scott Sudikoff and Nick Belmonte on the call. Sunday’s contest will be broadcast throughout the state of West Virginia on Nexstar Media affiliates, WVNS in Beckley, WBOY in Clarksburg, WOWK in Huntington and WTRF in Wheeling.
Fans can listen to the games on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on various affiliates throughout the state, online at WVUsports.com, on the Mountaineer Gameday App and the TuneInRadio App. Dan Zangrilli and Ernie Galusky will call the action.
Additional behind-the-scenes updates, news and notes from Monongalia County Ballpark can be found on social media by following and connecting with the team at @WVUBaseball on Twitter
PARKING AND SHUTTLE INFO
There are several parking and shuttle options for fans to make cheering on the Mountaineers even easier again this season.
Free parking will be available for all fans in the parking lots behind the outfield fence. Lot 1 is located behind the right field wall and adjacent to the clubhouse facility at the ballpark, and lot 2 is located across the street from Gate A.
A limited amount of ADA accessible parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for free in the lot closest to Gate A. The lot is located behind the left-center field wall, behind the scoreboard. An ADA parking permit will be required to park in the spots reserved for ADA parking.
Free shuttle service for WVU students will also be offered to each WVU baseball home game this season through WVU Transportation. Student must have a valid WVU Student ID to ride the shuttle. The shuttle will pick up at Towers and the Mountainlair, making two trips beginning 90 minutes before first pitch, and returning following the game.
No. 2 TCU is 27-5 on the season and leads the Big 12 with an 8-1 record. The Horned Frogs are 17-2 at home, 7-3 in road matchups and 3-0 at a neutral site. A year ago, TCU won the Big 12 tournament championship and was one of three conference teams to advance to the College World Series.
Last weekend, TCU swept Murray State in a non-conference series. The Horned Frogs followed with a 9-3 win at Dallas Baptist on Tuesday night.
At the plate, TCU is led by Wade Austen, who leads the team with a .339 average, 42 hits and a .492 slugging percentage. He is second with 26 RBIs, behind Luken Baker, who has 33 hits and is one of three players with a batting average above .300.
On the mound, Jared Janczak leads the way with a 1.79 ERA, a 6-0 record and 57 strikeouts in 55.1 innings pitched. In relief, Austin Boyles owns a 0.87 ERA in eight appearances, with 17 strikeouts.
Jim Schlossnagle is in his 14th season in Fort Worth, and owns a 592-259 record. He has guided TCU to 16 conference titles, 12 NCAA Tournaments and four College World Series, including each of the last three.
The preseason No. 1 team in the country, TCU is currently ranked No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 3 by the NCBWA, the USA Today Coaches Poll, Baseball America, D1 Baseball and Perfect Game.
SERIES HISTORY VS. TCU
West Virginia is 2-13 all-time against TCU. The Horned Frogs own a 5-1 edge at WVU and a 6-0 mark in Fort Worth. The two teams have met twice at the Big 12 Championship, including last year, where TCU claimed an 11-10 win in 10 innings in the championship game.
After TCU won all three games in Fort Worth last season, the two teams met in the Big 12 championship game in Oklahoma City. The Horned Frogs stormed out to a 8-0 lead in the third inning, but WVU answered right back, scoring three in the bottom of the third, three in the fourth and four in the fifth to take a 10-9 lead. However, TCU tied the game in the ninth and won it in the 10th inning, 11-10, to win the Big 12 title and the league’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers’ two wins against TCU both came in 2013. The first win was a 2-0 victory in Charleston, West Virginia, in the first game between the two teams. After the Horned Frogs took the next two to win the series, WVU and TCU met in the Big 12 Championship, where the Mountaineers posted a 10-3 win.
ON DECK: MOUNTAINEERS TRAVEL TO MARSHALL
West Virginia faces in-state foe Marshall on Tuesday, April 18, at 6 p.m. ET at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston, West Virginia. WVU won the season’s first matchup between the two teams, 14-7 on April 4, in Morgantown. West Virginia has won five of the last six and 14 of the last 17 games in the series. Tickets to the game on April 18 in Charleston are available, and linked on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
LAST TIME OUT: WVU DROPS TIGHT AFFAIR AT NO. 21 MARYLAND
West Virginia was edged at No. 21 Maryland, 7-6, on Tuesday afternoon in College Park, Maryland. On a hot, sun-soaked day at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium, the Mountaineers scored three runs in the first inning and led 4-0 after three, but the Terrapins rallied with a two-run sixth inning and a five-run seventh to improve to 12-1 at home.
Down by a pair in the ninth inning, WVU attempted to tie the game, loading the bases with one out, but could only bring one run across on a sacrifice fly. The Mountaineers fell to 6-3 against ranked teams in 2017, all on the road.
West Virginia led 4-0 early behind a strong start by freshman right-hander Alek Manoah
and power at the plate thanks to home runs by sophomore third baseman Cole Austin
and senior first baseman Jackson Cramer
QUICK HITS: KEY TEAM NOTES
- West Virginia is celebrating its 125th year of baseball. Founded in 1892, WVU owns an all-time record of 2,114-1,514-19. The Mountaineers are the second-oldest program in the Big 12.
- WVU is ranked No. 14 in the NCAA RPI. The Big 12 has five teams in the top 16 and the league also owns the No. 1 conference RPI in the nation.
- The Mountaineers are 19-12 on the season, 6-2 at home and have won 11 of their last 16 games and four consecutive weekend series.
- WVU is tied for second in the Big 12, with a 6-3 record.
- A season-high 2,085 fans attended the game on April 8 against Kansas, the 13th-largest home crowd in team history and the seventh-largest at Monongalia County Ballpark. Six of WVU’s first eight games have featured a crowd of more than 1,600 fans.
- Sophomore right-hander Michael Grove was named the NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and one of the National Players of the Week by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper, on April 10, after taking a perfect game into the eighth inning in WVU’s 8-0 win against Kansas on April 8.
- Grove, who is 3-1, has struck out at least eight batters in four of his last five starts, including a season-best 12 in his win on April 8.
- Senior Jackson Cramer has been named one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have shown a commitment in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition.
Single game tickets, flex plan tickets and mini packs for the 2017 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME
, going to WVUGAME.com
or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. The 2017 schedule is available on WVUsports.com