They may have played just three games this season, but there’s one opponent the West Virginia baseball team has already had trouble defeating: the weather. Hawley Field continues to sit underneath nearly a foot of snow, and it doesn’t look like that will change anytime soon.
The Mountaineers opened the 2014 season Saturday in Charleston, S.C. The team lost to No. 8 Louisville and Delaware before earning their first victory of the season Sunday against The Citadel. The win certainly helped, but the team was just happy to be playing the game outdoors.
“The first time we were on the field this spring was (against Louisville),” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. “Because of that, we’re learning as we go these first 10 games.”
WVU has practiced inside the Caperton Indoor Facility since February. Normally a way for the football team to practice indoors, the baseball team has called it home every day as they wait for the snow to melt.
The weather hasn’t just affected practice for the team. While traveling to Charleston last week, the team was stuck on the team bus for nearly 20 hours. The Mountaineers got stuck in heavy snowfall on I-77 near Charlotte, N.C. A late walkthrough practice before opening day was canceled due to the late arrival.
The Mountaineers will be back indoors this week as they prepare for a trip to San Diego this weekend. Despite the unfortunate situation, the team is staying positive and not worried about the workouts with a roof over their heads.
“We’ve been playing the game for awhile. Getting back on the dirt comes natural for us,” said first baseman Ryan McBroom. “It’s been great working here at the indoor facility. The live pitching and live batting practice has really been helpful for us.”
McBroom started the season hot, going 6-for-14 in Saturday’s game. He has already smacked two home runs and six RBI’s in the opening three games. His numbers don’t show that he misses practicing outside, and neither do the stats from the starting rotation. All three starters (Harrison Musgrave, Sean Carley and John Means) pitched into at least the sixth inning in the games and allowed a total of five runs.
WVU doesn’t host its home opener in Morgantown until March 25. Until then, the Mountaineers will visit several sunny locations including California, South Carolina, North Carolina and Nevada. Still, Mazey is concerned with his team’s production during practice.
“It’s hard to establish roles practicing inside,” he said. “That’s why you have to use the first 15 games to try different combinations and see what works the best. You just hope you can win games while you’re doing that.”
West Virginia visits San Diego State this weekend for a three-game series. Led by long-time professional Tony Gwynn, the Aztecs won’t be worried about the playing conditions of their field. The weekend forecast predicts sunny skies and 75-degree temperatures for all three games.