MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The No. 21 West Virginia University baseball team takes to the road to continue Big 12 Conference play at Kansas State, from April 21-23.
The series at Tointon Family Stadium begins on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT. Saturday’s contest is set for a 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT first pitch, while the series finale will be on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET/noon CT.
Ranked for the first time in a national poll for the first time since 1982 and ranked in four polls for the first time in program history, the Mountaineers (22-13, 8-4 Big 12) enter the weekend having won five consecutive series, four in Big 12 play. WVU is tied for second place in the Big 12 after a series win over No. 3 TCU at home last weekend. West Virginia is coming off an 8-4 win at Marshall on Tuesday and has won nine of its last 12 games.
The Wildcats (19-18, 2-10 Big 12) have won two in a row, with a doubleheader sweep of New Mexico on Tuesday. Last weekend in Big 12 action, K-State won its opener against No. 6 Texas Tech, 5-3, before losing the next two games in the series, 7-4 and 12-8.
A pair of junior right-handers will take the mound on Friday night to open the series. BJ Myers
(3-2, 3.38 ERA) will get the start for the Mountaineers, and Justin Heskett (4-2, 2.88 ERA) will go for the Wildcats. On Saturday, sophomore righty Michael Grove
(3-1, 2.70 ERA) will go up against K-State senior left-hander Parker Rigler (2-4, 3.47 ERA). Sunday’s starters have not been determined.
A live stream will be available for all three games, with Friday’s game available on K-StateHD.TV, and Saturday and Sunday’s contests on ESPN3. 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 will call the action.
Additional behind-the-scenes updates, news and notes from Manhattan can be found on social media by following and connecting with the team at @WVUBaseball on Twitter
SCOUTING KANSAS STATE
Kansas State enters the weekend with a 19-18 record and a 2-10 mark in Big 12 play. The Wildcats are 12-10 at home, 2-6 on the road and 5-2 at a neutral site. K-State owns a 2-5 mark against top-25 clubs.
Last week, the Wildcats lost a home series to No. 6 Texas Tech. Kansas State won the opener, 5-3, before falling in the final two games, 7-4 and 12-8. K-State’s first win in Big 12 play came at Oklahoma State in the first game of the series, 10-4.
Offensively, Kansas State is led by Will Brennan, with a .367 average and 40 hits, while Cameron Thompson has 50 hits, a .333 average and 25 RBIs.
On the mound, Justin Heskett leads the team with a 2.88 ERA and a team-high-tying four wins in nine starts. He has added 33 strikeouts. In relief, Tyler Ecksberg has made 12 appearances and owns a 1.59 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched, with 24 strikeouts and six walks.
The Wildcats are coached by Brad Hill, in his 14th season. Hill owns a 435-352-3 record in Manhattan with four NCAA Tournament appearances, most recently in 2013.
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE WILDCATS
West Virginia is 7-5 all-time against Kansas State, with all 12 meetings coming since WVU joined the Big 12 for the 2013 season. The Mountaineers are 4-2 in Morgantown and 3-3 in Manhattan, Kansas.
The series opened in 2013, where WVU won the opener in Manhattan, 13-2, before two one-run defeats, 6-5 and 4-3.
In K-State’s first visit to Morgantown in 2014, West Virginia swept the Wildcats at Hawley Field. After a 10-1 win in the opener, the Mountaineers won the series with a 6-5, walk-off victory on a fielder’s choice. WVU completed the sweep with a 6-1 victory.
In 2015, WVU’s last visit to Manhattan, the Mountaineers opened with an 8-2 loss before responding to win the series. WVU evened the series with a 5-3 win. Kyle Davis
had two hits and two RBIs as West Virginia scored three runs in the first two innings. The following day, the Mountaineers won the series with a 3-2 victory. Davis drove in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning with a two-out double to score one.
Last season, K-State took two-of-three in Morgantown. West Virginia capped the series against with a comeback victory on Sunday. WVU rallied with four two-out runs in the eighth inning to beat the Wildcats, 5-4. In the series opener against K-State, WVU rallied with four runs to tie the game in the seventh, but it was not enough in an 8-6 loss. Kansas State won on Saturday, 15-2.
ON DECK: MOUNTAINEERS TRAVEL TO VIRGINIA TECH
The Mountaineers’ five game roadtrip concludes at rival Virginia Tech on Tuesday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m. ET, in Blacksburg, Virginia. WVU has won two of the last three meetings, including a 5-4 home win last season.
LAST TIME OUT: MOUNTAINEERS COMPLETE IN-STATE SWEEP
West Virginia completed the season series sweep against in-state foe Marshall with an 8-4 win on Tuesday evening in Charleston. In front of a near-capacity crowd of 4,217 at Appalachian Power Park, the Mountaineers scored in five of the first six innings to improve to 45-24 all-time against the Thundering Herd and 15-3 in the last 18 meetings.
Sophomore Ivan Gonzalez
led the way offensively, with four hits, three RBIs and three runs scored. Gonzalez hit his third home run of the season and was a triple shy of the cycle. Junior Kyle Davis
also added a home run, his fifth of the season.
On the mound, WVU was fueled by a strong start from freshman Kade Strowd
and 5.0 lights-out relief innings from fellow freshman Riley Troutt
. Making his third start, Strowd pitched 4.0 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits. Troutt finished the game, pitching 5.0 shutout innings to earn his first career win. He struck out four and gave up four hits with no runs and no walks.
QUICK HITS: KEY TEAM NOTES
- West Virginia is celebrating its 125th year of baseball. Founded in 1892, WVU owns an all-time record of 2,117-1,515-19. 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 22-13 on the season, 8-3 at home and have won nine of their last 12 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.
- Sophomore Jimmy Galusky was named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List on April 18, which honors the nation’s top shortstop.
- Junior BJ Myers and freshman Brandon White were named Big 12 Pitcher and Newcomer of the Week following WVU’s series win over TCU.
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