WVU Baseball Wraps Up Its Regular Season This Week
The No. 17 West Virginia University baseball team concludes its regular season with a three-game series against George Washington Thursday through Saturday at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The series begins on Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and continues on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The regular-season finale is set for Saturday at 2 p.m. With the threat of inclement weather in the Morgantown area this weekend, fans are encouraged to stay tuned for the latest updates on this weekend’s schedule.
Thursday and Friday’s contests will feature Baseball Bingo, and Friday is the final Friday Night Happy Hour of the year, with half-off beverages available from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday is Armed Forces Day, with all active and retired military members receiving a discounted $3 ticket by showing a valid military I.D. Additionally, there will be postgame autographs, and kids can run the bases after the game.
Saturday’s regular-season finale is Senior Day, and seniors Ivan Gonzalez, Darius Hill, Zach Reid and Andrew Zitel will be recognized prior to first pitch. Prior to Friday night’s game, WVU will recognize its graduates, Hill, Reid, Zitel, senior Braden Zarbnisky and juniors Chase Illig, TJ Lake, Dillon Meadows and Cody Wood.
The Mountaineers (32-18) have won five of their last six games, highlighted by a 9-4 victory against Pitt at PNC Park in the Backyard Brawl on Tuesday night. WVU, which is ranked in the top-25 in each major poll, enters the final series of the regular season with six series victories in its last seven weekends.
The Colonials (30-22) have won three in a row after a weekend sweep of St. Bonaventure to conclude Atlantic 10 play. GW did not play a midweek contest this week.
Statistically, the West Virginia pitching staff is No. 8 nationally in hits allowed per nine innings (7.27), No. 10 in strikeouts per nine innings (10.1), No. 16 in shutouts (5), No. 20 in WHIP (1.27) and No. 27 in ERA (3.63). WVU also is second in the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.44). Additionally, the Mountaineers’ 83 stolen bases are No. 33 in the country and the most in the Big 12.
Individually, junior right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah is No. 6 nationally with 121 strikeouts, a total that also is No. 2 in WVU’s single-season record books. Manoah also ranks No. 13 in the country in WHIP (0.89), No. 23 in ERA (1.89), No. 24 in hits allowed per nine innings (5.86), No. 29 in complete games (2), No. 30 in strikeouts per nine innings (12.01) and No. 31 in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.50). Manoah also is second in the Big 12 with seven victories.
Junior left-handed starter Nick Snyder is No. 6 in the country in strikeouts per nine innings (13.99), No. 8 in hits allowed per nine innings (4.88), No. 20 in wins (8), No. 27 in ERA (1.95) and No. 37 in WHIP (0.99).
Hill, who owns the West Virginia record for games played with 124, and is tied for No. 1 with 73 career doubles, ranks No. 19 nationally with 19 doubles in 2019. Junior right-hander Sam Kessler has eight saves, which is second-most in the Big 12 and tied for No. 2 in a single season in program history. Junior center fielder Brandon White also is second in the league with 22 stolen bases.
SCOUTING GEORGE WASHINGTON
George Washington comes to Morgantown with a 30-22 record and an 11-13 mark in Atlantic 10 play. GW concluded A-10 action with a home sweep of St. Bonaventure last weekend, which snapped a stretch of four consecutive series losses.
Dom D’Alessandro leads the team with 83 hits, a .415 batting average and 12 home runs, while he is second with 54 RBIs. Nate Fassnacht paces the squad with 60 RBIs, 23 doubles and a .670 slugging percentage. On the mound, Jaret Edwards has 44 strikeouts in 68.1 innings pitched, with a 6-3 record, while Elliott Raimo owns a 3.27 ERA in 44.0 innings.
Gregg Ritchie is in his seventh season at George Washington and owns a 195-192 record at his alma mater. Inducted into GW’s Hall of Fame in 1999, Ritchie has guided the Colonials to three consecutive 30-win seasons.
SERIES HISTORY VS. THE COLONIALS
The Mountaineers are 57-50 all-time against GW and 25-14 at home. The Colonials swept the last series in 1995 in Washington, D.C., after West Virginia had won six of the previous seven.
LAST TIME OUT: BACKYARD BRAWL WIN AT PNC PARK
In the first Backyard Brawl at PNC Park, West Virginia beat Pitt, 9-4, on May 14 in Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers won their sixth consecutive game against the Panthers and improved to 3-0 all-time at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ ballpark. WVU has won 11 of its last 14 games against Pitt and improves to 109-88 all-time in the series.
The Backyard Brawl victory was fueled by another strong start by Snyder, who held Pitt to one run on three hits with 11 strikeouts and two walks in 7.0 innings. He was backed by an offense that scored nine runs on 13 hits.
Sophomore second baseman Tyler Doanes had a team-best three hits and three RBIs, while Hill had two hits and drove in two runs, both on RBI doubles.
After Pitt took a 1-0 lead in the second inning, West Virginia responded with three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead. The Mountaineers extended their advantage to 5-1 in the fifth, 6-1 in the sixth and added another three-run inning in the seventh to make it 9-1. UP scored three in the eighth.
Five of WVU’s nine runs came with two outs.
ON DECK: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP
The Mountaineers begin postseason play at the Big 12 Championship, from May 22-26, in Oklahoma City at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The championship bracket will be announced at the conclusion of the Big 12 regular season on Sunday, and West Virginia will open the eight-team, double-elimination tournament on Wednesday, May 22. The lone team not playing a conference series this weekend, WVU is currently in fourth place in the league standings with a 13-11 record.