Drought Ends; WVU Headed For NCAA Baseball Tournament
By Kevin Kinder
The drought is over.
West Virginia ended its 21-year long absence from the NCAA Baseball Tournament when it was tabbed as the number two seed in the Winston-Salem Regional. The Mountaineers rode a very strong RPI (#19 overall, #24 non-conference) along with very good strength of schedule numbers and a paucity of bad losses into the field. West Virginia’s in-conference SOS was 18th nationally, while its overall SOS was 57th. That put it squarely in the middle of the top 20 teams in the RPI, and with only one loss to a sub-100 RPI team, it avoided one of the major dings that kept it out of the field a year ago. WVU also did not play any teams with an RPI of 200 or more — one of only three teams in the Top 40 of the RPI to avoid the dregs of the 299 Division 1 teams.
The Mountaineers will join #1 seed Wake Forest in Winston-Salem along with number 3 Maryland and number 4 UMBC. WVU will first face Maryland on Friday, Jun. 2 at 2:00 PM. If WVU wins, it will face the winner of the Wake Forest – UMBC game, while the losers of those two contests will also square off on the following day in the double-elimination format. The WVU – Maryland game will be available via WatchESPN.
WVU dropped a 7-6 decision to the Terps on Apr. 11. The Mountaineers and Terrapins are regular out-of-conference foes.
Despite a pair of extra-inning games in the Big 12 Championship, the Mountaineer pitching staff should be in respectable shape for the regional. BJ Myers and Alek Manoah didn’t have a lot of work in Oklahoma City, and Isaiah Kerns’ outstanding complete game in the opener on Wednesday left him plenty of time to recover for this weekend’s contests. Starter Michael Grove could also be available, although as of the selection time his status for a return to the field was still uncertain.