WVU Baseball Enters Final Regular Season Week
With the dream of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament all but gone, West Virginia’s baseball team must focus on other goals in the final week of the regular season. None of the major outlets covering the college game have the Mountaineers on their radar for an at-large bid, and even a run including four wins this week plus, for example, a 4-2 mark in the Big 12 Championship, would give the Mountaineers only a 34-25 record overall, including an 11-13 regular season league mark.
With that on the far back burner, the Mountaineers could achieve some smaller milestones this week. A win over Marshall on Tuesday night would give them nine consecutive mid-week game wins, and complete a sweep of nearby foes. WVU is 5-0 combined against MU, Maryland, Pitt and Penn State this year, and an unblemished 6-0 record would provide a nice tidbit to use in area recruiting.
The Mountaineers then close the season with a Thursday through Saturday home series against Baylor, and a sweep could allow them to move up two notches in the Big 12 standings. Currently seventh, WVU would tie Baylor at 11-13 in the league by winning all three games, and claim the tiebreaker on the head-to-head comparison. More remotely, West Virginia could pass TCU, but that would also require three Horned Frog losses to Texas.
No matter how the league standings shake out, however, WVU will almost certainly have to win the Big 12 Championship next week in Oklahoma City to make its second consecutive NCAA Tournament. WVU is 45th in the latest RPI, and is saddled with an unsightly 7-6 record against teams in Group 3 (101-150) of the RPI. Jacksonville is the only other team in the top 59 of the RPI with as many defeats in that group.
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West Virginia comes into the Tuesday afternoon game against Marshall, which has been moved up to a 3:00 p.m. start, on a roll against the Herd. WVU has won seven of the last eight meetings and 16 of the last 19 in the series 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 match-up 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, and again in 2017. WVU won an 11-10 13-inning slugfest last month in Charleston. The Herd is 19-28 on the season and 7-19 in Conference USA play, and have lost five straight entering this game.
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Freshman third baseman Tyler Doanes continued his hot play and was honored with Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and WVU Student-Athlete of the Week accolades on May 14. Doanes led the Mountaineers with a .600 batting average in WVU’s three-game series at TCU from May 11-13. He hit his first career home run, an inside-the-parker, and had two hits in every game, along with three RBIs in Sunday’s series finale. Doanes added a team-leading 1.000 slugging percentage during the weekend
The Fayetteville, Georgia, native led the Big 12 among freshmen with a .500 batting average in four games during the week and ranked No. 7 overall with a .563 on-base percentage, both team-leading totals. This was Doanes’ first Big 12 honor of his career.