Newly-Ranked WVU Faces Marshall in Charleston

  • By Charlie Healy
  • |
  • April 17, 2017 07:58 PM
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In the top 25 for the first time since 1982, the No. 21 West Virginia University baseball team travels to Charleston, West Virginia, for a midweek matchup against in-state foe Marshall on Tuesday, April 18, at 6 p.m. ET, at Appalachian Power Park.
 
 
WVU and MU meet for the 69th time on Tuesday night. West Virginia holds a 44-24 lead in the all-time series, including a 14-7 win at home on April 4, and has won 14 of the last 17 matchups. Marshall owns a 16-11 edge in home games, and all three of West Virginia’s losses since 1993 have come away from Morgantown.
 
The Mountaineers (21-13) are coming off their fifth consecutive weekend series win, thanks to a pair of walk-off wins against No. 3 TCU. West Virginia is ranked nationally in five of the six major polls and are ranked for the first time in program history in four polls.
 
The Thundering Herd (18-17) are coming off a 7-0 win at Florida Atlantic on Sunday after losing the first two games of the weekend series. Marshall won a pair of midweek games last week, 4-3 against Morehead State and 12-9 vs. Ohio.
 
Tickets to the game are available, here and linked on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
 
FOLLOWING ALONG
A live stream will be available for Tuesday’s game at Marshall, and a subscription is required. Fans can listen to the game 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.
 
Links to video stream, the radio broadcast and live stats can be found on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
 
Additional behind-the-scenes updates, news and notes from Charleston can be found on social media by following and connecting with the team at @WVUBaseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
 
SCOUTING MARSHALL
Marshall enters the week with an 18-17 record and a 7-8 mark in Conference USA play. The Thundering Herd are 11-5 at home and 7-12 on the road. MU owns a 1-3 mark against top-25 clubs.
 
Last week, Marshall went 3-3. The week began with a 4-3 win over Morehead State and a 12-9 win against Ohio before dropping a weekend series at Florida Atlantic. The Herd won the finale, 7-0 on Sunday.
 
Offensively, Marshall is led by Billy Sager, who has a .333 average in 26 games. Tyler Ratliff leads the team with 39 hits and 34 RBIs, while Sam Finfer has nine home runs and is second with 38 hits.
 
On the mound, starter Wade Martin leads the way with a 2.63 ERA in 54.2 innings pitched with 57 strikeouts. Reliever Jacob Bradley has made 11 appearances and owns a 4.38 ERA.
 
The Thundering Herd are coached by Jeff Waggoner, in his 11th season. He owns a 249-326-1 record.
 
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE THUNDERING HERD
West Virginia holds a 44-24 advantage in the all-time series in a series that began in 1915. WVU is 30-8 at home after a 14-7 win on April 4, 11-16 on the road and 4-0 at a neutral site. Under coach Randy Mazey, since 2013, the Mountaineers are 6-3 in the in-state series.
 
WVU has won five of the last six meetings and 14 of the last 17, dating back to 1993. The stretch began with eight consecutive wins from 1993-2008. The series resumed in 2013, when Marshall won two of three. The Mountaineers won the lone matchup in 2014 before a two-game split in 2015.
 
West Virginia swept the season series in 2016, marking the first series sweep for either team since 1997. WVU came from behind to win the first game, 5-4 in 10 innings, in Charleston. No-hit for 5.2 innings, the Mountaineers scored three in the eighth to erase a 3-1 deficit. The winning run scored in the 10th inning on an error. WVU completed the sweep later in the month with a 9-8 win. West Virginia scored five runs in the seventh inning and staved off a five-run Marshall eighth.
 
Earlier this season, the Mountaineers won the first meeting, 14-7 in Morgantown, behind an offensive explosion that scored 14 runs on 16 hits, with the help of five Marshall errors. West Virginia benefited from a strong pitching performance from a freshmen duo of Isaiah Kearns and Sam Kessler. The Mountaineers were led by Jackson Cramer, who had a team-high four RBIs with a team-high-tying three hits with three runs scored. Cramer hit his fifth home run of the season and third in four games at home in the first inning to get the day started.
 
ON DECK: MOUNTAINEERS TRAVEL TO KANSAS STATE
This weekend, West Virginia travels to Kansas State from April 21-23. The series begins on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Saturday’s first pitch is set for 5 p.m., and the series finale in Manhattan, Kansas, will begin at 1 p.m. Links to live streams, radio broadcasts and live stats for all three games can be found on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
 
LAST TIME OUT: WVU WALKS OFF TWICE TO WIN SERIES AGAINST NO. 3 TCU
West Virginia earned a series victory against No. 3 TCU this weekend, with two walk-off victories.
  • The series began with a 5-4 win on Friday, April 14, as a sacrifice fly by sophomore catcher Ivan Gonzalez drove in the winning run after TCU tied the game at 4-4 with a three-run ninth inning. While ending TCU’s 13-game winning streak, junior starter BJ Myers had another dominant outing, pitching 8.1 innings and allowing just two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk. The WVU offense scored early and led 4-1 in the fifth inning, as TCU starter Jared Janczak pitched a season-low 4.2 innings and gave up a season-high four runs on six hits. Braden Zarbnisky pitched 0.2 innings and earned his team-high-tying fourth win.
  • The Horned Frogs rallied for an 8-6 win on Saturday to even the series, scoring five runs in the eighth inning after the Mountaineers scored runs in each of the first four innings. Starter Michael Grove allowed two earned runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in 7.0 innings for his fourth quality start of the year, all coming in his last four starts. Junior Kyle Davis hit his fourth home run of the season, while sophomore Jimmy Galusky hit his second homer of the year and third of his career.
  • WVU again walked off to win the series on Sunday, 5-4. WVU scored two runs on no hits in the ninth inning, thanks to four walks and a hit batter. Senior Jackson Cramer walked in the tying run and sophomore Darius Hill walked in the winning run with two outs. West Virginia’s bullpen combined to allow no runs on six hits with eight strikeouts in 5.2 innings before TCU closer Durbin Feltman blew his first career save in 19 attempts in the ninth. Senior Jackson Sigman pitched a scoreless ninth inning and picked up his first career win.
 
MOUNTAINEERS ENTER NATIONAL RANKINGS
For the first time in team history, West Virginia is ranked nationally in five of the six major polls, highlighted by a No. 21 ranking in two polls. WVU is in the top 25 for the first time since 1982.
  • WVU sits at No. 21 in the Baseball America Top 25 and the D1 Baseball rankings. Both mark the first time in team history that West Virginia has made an appearance in either poll.
  • The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) and USA Today Coaches Poll also has voted the Mountaineers into the Top 25 for the first time in team history, at No. 24 by the NCBWA and No. 25 in the Coaches Poll.
  • Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has West Virginia at No. 25, the first time the Gold and Blue appear in the publication’s poll since the final rankings in 1982, when they were voted No. 16.
  • Additionally, West Virginia is ranked No. 8 in the NCAA RPI. WVU is one of two Big 12 teams in the top 10 and one of five in the top 21. The Big 12 has the No. 1 conference RPI in the country.
 
MYERS, WHITE HONORED BY BIG 12
After leading West Virginia to a series win against No. 3 TCU from April 14-16, junior right-hander BJ Myers was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, while freshman center fielder Brandon White was named the league’s Co-Newcomer of the Week. It is the second career Pitcher of the Week honor for Myers, who was also recognized last year, while White is earned Newcomer of the Week accolades for the first time in his career.
 
Myers had another dominant outing on the mound on April 14 against TCU, allowing just two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk in 8.1 innings pitched. He had his sixth quality start of the season and fifth in his last six starts while helping lead West Virginia to a 5-4, walk-off win in the series opener. Myers threw 126 pitches and held the Horned Frogs, one of the league’s best offenses in conference play, to a .194 batting average.
 
White led the team with a .625 batting average, five hits, a .700 slugging percentage and two stolen bases against TCU. While going 5-8 at the plate, he added two walks and had a stellar week in the field, making several outstanding catches in center field without recording an error.  White was the only Mountaineer with a batting average above .375 in the series and had at least one hit in every game, including a team-high-tying three on Saturday.
 
QUICK HITS: KEY TEAM NOTES
  • West Virginia is celebrating its 125th year of baseball. Founded in 1892, WVU owns an all-time record of 2,116-1,515-19. The Mountaineers are the second-oldest program in the Big 12.
  • The Mountaineers are ranked nationally in five of the six major polls, highlighted by a No. 21 ranking in two polls. WVU is ranked for the first time in program history in four polls, and is in the top 25 for the first time since 1982.
  • WVU is ranked No. 8 in the NCAA RPI. The Big 12 has five teams in the top 21 and the league owns the No. 1 conference RPI in the nation.
  • The Mountaineers are 21-13 on the season, 8-3 at home and have won eight of their last 11 games and five consecutive weekend series.
  • WVU is tied for second place in the Big 12, with an 8-4 record and is the only team that hasn’t lost a weekend series in conference play.
  • The Mountaineers are 8-4 against top-25 teams, with all but three games coming on the road.
  • The two wins over No. 3 TCU, WVU’s first-ever series win in the all-time series, is the highest-ranked opponent WVU has defeated in program history and the third and fourth wins over a top-five team in the last two seasons.
  • A record crowd of 3,415 fans were in attendance on April 15 at Monongalia County Ballpark, the largest home crowd in program history. Eight of WVU’s first 11 home games have featured a crowd of more than 1,600 fans and five have topped 2,000.
  • Junior BJ Myers and freshman Brandon White were named Big 12 Pitcher and Newcomer of the Week following WVU’s series win over TCU.
  • 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 five of his last six starts, including a season-best 12 in his win on April 8.
 
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.
 
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow WVU Baseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit WVUsports.com.