WVU baseball ready to open homestand vs. TCU

Gold and Blue Nation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team returns home to play host to No. 5 TCU, presented by The West Virginia Lottery, from April 30-May 2, at Monongalia County Ballpark.

Friday’s series opener, which begins an 11-game homestand for the Mountaineers, is slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, while Saturday and Sunday’s matchups are set for 2 p.m., and 1 p.m., respectively. Tickets to all three contests are sold out. However, a limited number of WVU student tickets will be available on game days in pairs of two. Student tickets can be picked up at Gate A or C of Monongalia County Ballpark. Students are admitted free with a valid student I.D.

Fans are reminded to check the WVU baseball Twitter page for updates on limited player/guest-returned tickets prior to every home game. If those are made available to the general public, they will be released for purchase starting three hours before first pitch and can be found on WVUGAME.com. Any available tickets can be purchased on a first-come, first-serve basis and are priced at $7.

Fans can listen to each game on the Mountaineer Sports Network from Learfield IMG College on 100.9 WZST-FM, as well as various affiliates throughout the state, the TuneIn Radio App and WVUsports.com. Additionally, Friday and Sunday’s games will air live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+, while Saturday’s game will be televised nationally on ESPNU.

For links to live stats, audio and streams, visit WVUsports.com.

Senior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf (3-4, 3.44 ERA) leads the Mountaineers into the series on Friday against TCU’s redshirt sophomore left-hander Russell Smith (6-1, 3.23 ERA). On Saturday, sophomore left-hander Jake Carr (1-3, 10.59 ERA) battles sophomore lefty Austin Krob (5-0, 3.21 ERA) of TCU, while Sunday’s pitching matchup features freshman left-hander Ben Hampton (3-1, 4.35 ERA) against the Horned Frogs’ redshirt sophomore right-hander Johnny Ray (3-2, 5.30 ERA).

WVU (15-18, 6-9 Big 12) is 6-20 all-time against TCU (30-10, 12-3 Big 12), including 4-8 at home. In the two schools’ most recent encounter, the Horned Frogs took two-of-three games over West Virginia from May 3-5, 2019, in Morgantown. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Mountaineers topped TCU, 6-5, thanks to Darius Hill’s walk-off home run in the series finale.

Last weekend, West Virginia dropped two-of-three games at Kansas State, from April 23-25, at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. The Mountaineers earned a 4-3 win in 11 innings in Friday’s series opener, before falling in the final two games, 5-2 and 9-4.

Wolf recorded one of the best outings of his career on Friday, tallying a career-high 10 strikeouts in 8.0 innings of work. The Gahanna, Ohio, native threw 128 pitches, a career high, and allowed three runs on six hits in a no decision. Sophomore right-hander Jacob Watters earned the win after allowing no hits or runs in 3.0 innings out of the bullpen with six strikeouts.

For the series, WVU was led offensively by sophomore catcher/infielder Matt McCormick, who went 6-for-12 (.500) with two doubles, two RBI, three runs scored and a stolen base.

Earlier this week, Watters was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association’s (NCBWA) Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List on April 28. The Rocky Gap, Virginia, native is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 11 appearances for the Mountaineers this season. In 14.2 innings of work, he has allowed just three runs (two earned) on eight hits with 30 strikeouts. Watters also has registered a pair of saves this spring.

Fifth-year senior first baseman/outfielder Hudson Byorick paces WVU with a team-best .301 average at the plate. Fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Brophy and McCormick co-lead the club with six home runs, while freshman infielder Mikey Kluska’s 23 RBI are tops on the team. On the mound, Wolf carries a 3.44 ERA into the weekend. He and Hampton each have three wins on the year.

The Mountaineers enter the weekend ranked No. 19 nationally in strikeouts per nine innings. The squad tallied 36 total strikeouts in last weekend’s three-game series at K-State.

TCU is led by 18th-year coach Jim Schlossnagle. The Horned Frogs enter the weekend series with a 30-10 mark on the year, including 12-3 in Big 12 play. Of note, TCU began the week tied with No. 3 Texas atop the conference standings.

The squad is ranked as high as No. 5 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 this week. The Horned Frogs have won eight of their last nine games, including an 8-3 win at UT Arlington on April 27.

Junior outfielder Phillip Sikes leads the team in a number of areas, including average (.374), hits (52), doubles (17) and RBI (47). Freshman infielder Brayden Taylor has socked a team-best 10 home runs. TCU ranks in the top-10 nationally in a variety of offensive categories. The club is No. 1 in the country with 338 runs scored.

On the mound, redshirt sophomore left-handed pitcher Russell Smith is 6-1 with a 3.23 ERA so far this spring. He has registered a team-high 69 strikeouts and has yielded only seven walks.

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