For the third consecutive week, the WVU baseball team will be on the road for a three-game weekend series. The Mountaineers will make a return trip to South Carolina to take on Duke, Coastal Carolina and James Madison.
West Virginia enters the weekend with a 2-4 overall record after dropping two of three games in its trip to San Diego State last weekend. The Mountaineers had several instances of poor defense that played a part in both losses.
“When you don’t get to play outside, you have to work out your mistakes while the season is going on, and that’s not easy to do,” said head coach Randy Mazey.
WVU will play in Myrtle Beach, S.C., this weekend in the Caravelle Resort Tournament. Mazey has already announced the starting rotation for all three games that features 2013 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave going against Duke this afternoon.
Musgrave earned his first victory of the 2014 season last Friday night when he pitched six strong innings against SDSU, striking out eight Aztecs in the 6-2 Mountaineer win.
Junior Sean Carley will take the hill against tournament host Coastal Carolina, while junior John Means will end the weekend Sunday afternoon against James Madison.
Carley has earned two no decisions to begin his West Virginia career, but has been effective in both starts. Means is 1-1 with a win over The Citadel and losing a decision last Sunday in the series finale against San Diego State.
West Virginia has begun the season swinging the bat very well. In the season’s first six games, WVU is averaging more than 11 hits per game as a team. The Mountaineers are currently led by second baseman Billy Fleming, who is hitting .522 with 12 hits in five games played.
First baseman Ryan McBroom continues to be the power of the lineup, having hit two home runs and a team-leading 10 RBIs.
Despite losing two of three games in both weekends to open the 2014 season, West Virginia is still confident in the amount of success they can achieve.
“As long as we continue to get better and learn each time out, I think by the time conference rolls around we’ll have a pretty good team,” Mazey said.
Duke will send left-hander Trent Swart to the mound this afternoon against the Mountaineers. The junior is 2-0 to start the season with just a 1.50 ERA. Swart has struck out 16 in 12 innings of work.
The Blue Devils, 5-3, are led in nearly every offensive category by Chris Marconcini. The junior first baseman is hitting .467 with two home runs and nine RBIs in eight games. Marconcini owns 14 hits and a slugging percentage of nearly .800.
Coastal Carolina, a NCAA tournament team in 2013, sits at just 2-5 early in 2014. The Chanticleers are expected to start Tyler Herb Saturday. Herb is 0-2 in 2014 but has had a successful collegiate career. The senior was an All-Big South selection in 2012 and has a career ERA of 3.33. Coastal’s top hitter is outfielder Richard Carter, who is hitting at a .455 clip.
The James Madison Dukes are off to a 4-4 start this season. The team has two hitters in the lineup who currently hit above .400 in junior outfielder Kevin Husum (.438) and senior Matt Tenaglia (.414). Senior infielder Ty McFarland is hitting .385 and has belted four home runs.
All three games will be played at TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach. First pitch today against Duke is set for 2 p.m., while the Coastal Carolina and JMU contests are slated for 1:30 p.m. starts.