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February 14, 2020 at 7:58 am #111452
The West Virginia University baseball team opens the 2020 season with a three-game series at Jacksonville, from Feb. 14-16, in Jacksonville, Florida.
Friday’s season opener is set for 6 p.m. ET, at John Sessions Stadium, while Saturday and Sunday’s contests are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m., and 1 p.m., respectively.
Fans can follow along with the Mountaineers with live audio on Friday and Saturday, courtesy of JUDolphins.com, while Sunday’s game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Live stats for all three games also can be found at JUDolphins.com.
This weekend marks the second time in three years WVU will open a new season at Jacksonville, with the Dolphins taking two-of-three over the Mountaineers to open the 2018 campaign. Overall, the two schools are tied in the all-time series, 3-3.
West Virginia is set to open the season against an opponent from the Atlantic Sun Conference for the third consecutive season. In all, the squad is 13-10 all-time against ASUN foes.
Junior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf is set to take the mound for WVU in Friday’s season opener. The Gahanna, Ohio, native is expected to go against JU junior righty Trent Palmer (5-4, 4.55 ERA in 2019). Wolf, who went 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA in 2019, is the Mountaineers’ retuning innings pitched leader, hurling 69.2 innings last season.
On Saturday, sophomore right-hander Ryan Bergert (2-0, 1.85 ERA) will toe the rubber against the Dolphins’ senior righty Tyler Santana (4-4, 5.30 ERA), while freshman left-hander Jake Carr will battle junior right-hander Austin Temple (4-3, 5.37 ERA) from Jacksonville on Sunday.
WVU coach Randy Mazey is set to begin his eighth season at the helm in Morgantown. The reigning Big 12 Coach of the Year owns a mark of 227-176 with the Mountaineers, good for the fourth-most wins in team history. Under Mazey’s tutelage, West Virginia has won 33 or more games four times since 2013.
The Mountaineers return 12 lettermen from last season’s 38-win team, which qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three years and hosted an NCAA Regional for the first time since 1955, led by junior infielder Tyler Doanes and junior catcher Paul McIntosh, who were selected to the Preseason All-Big 12 team. Doanes hit .316 for WVU last season and begins 2020 on a 14-game hit streak, while McIntosh clubbed a team-best 10 home runs last spring.
Additionally, 19 newcomers have joined the program this season.
WVU was tabbed No. 35 in the NCBWA’s preseason poll, marking the second time in three years it has been included in the preseason rankings. The squad also was picked to finished seventh in the Preseason Big 12 Coaches Poll, earning a first-place vote in the process.
West Virginia is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history in 2019, finishing 38-22 overall and 13-11 in the Big 12. The 38 wins were the second-most in program history and the most in the Mazey era. WVU advanced to the Big 12 Championship Final for the second time in four years and finished the season ranked for the first time since 1982. The team appeared in the national polls for eight consecutive weeks to end the season.
A program-record eight players were selected in the 2019 MLB Draft, including first-round pick and first-team All-American right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah, who was taken 11th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays, tied for the highest selection in team history.
Jacksonville is led by fourth-year coach Chris Hayes, who holds a 108-72 mark at JU. The Dolphins finished 32-27 last season, good for fourth in the ASUN. The squad last qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2018.
JU redshirt senior shortstop Dakota Julylia was named to the Preseason All-ASUN team and voted Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. He hit .313 with 41 runs scored, a home run, eight doubles, a triple and 28 RBIs last season. Additionally, the Dolphins feature four pitchers who started at least nine games in 2019.February 14, 2020 at 11:23 am #111469
Really looking forward to this baseball season!February 14, 2020 at 11:26 am #111470
It’s a really big rebuild. Losing 3 of four starters, plus all the draftees and Inman unexpectedly, WVU is going to have a lot of challenges.February 14, 2020 at 11:32 am #111473
I agree, Kevin. But I think we’ll see some good quality baseball from any team that Mazey puts on the field. We probably won’t be as good as last year, but our recruiting seems to be very good. I think Mazey has built a program, and I pray he loves it in Morgantown and becomes our baseball version of Don Nehlen. (I can hope for things after all. :)).February 14, 2020 at 4:31 pm #111495
Rebuild for sure. But Mazey has put together some good recruiting classes in the past few years. I don’t think the drop will be as far as expected.
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