The West Virginia baseball team begins Big 12 play this weekend when it hosts the Kansas Jayhawks for a three-game series starting Friday.
West Virginia (8-8) was on the verge of playing its first Big 12 game in 2020 when COVID-19 canceled the remainder of the season. Now, the Mountaineers will use their Big 12 opener to propel themselves following a loss to in-state rival Marshall on Tuesday.
The loss against Marshall was the third out of the last four for the Mountaineers as they struggled to limit the Thundering Herd scoring. Sophomore right-handed pitcher Tyler Strechay (2-1, 5.40 ERA) earned the start for WVU and pitched three innings. In the start, Stretchay gave up five hits, four runs and struck out four.
The West Virginia offense was severely limited as it only totaled two hits and one run against the Marshall pitching staff. In the last three loses, West Virginia has failed to score more than two runs twice.
WVU is led by two power hitters in freshman infielder Mikey Kluska and sophomore outfielder Victor Scott. Kluska leads the team in batting average with a .339 in 16 games. Scott is right behind him with a .314 in 15 appearances. The pair have combined for 113 at-bats, 23 runs, 37 hits, five home runs and 22 RBI’s.
The Kansas Jayhawks (13-6, 2-0 Big 12) enter the series on a seven-game winning streak as they recently defeated Lafayette, 20-5, on Tuesday. This was the fifth game this season that they Jayhawks have broken double-digits in runs.
Redshirt junior Skyler Messinger leads Kansas with a .403 batting average in 18 games. Messinger also leads the team in runs with 21, hits (27) and he is second in home runs with two.
This game will be interesting for the Mountaineers as their pitching staff ranks No. 8 in the Big 12 with a 5.39 ERA. Kansas has the No. 2 pitching staff in the Big 12 conference with a 3.24 ERA. West Virginia has allowed 104 runs while the Jayhawks have only allowed 75.
West Virginia leads the head-to-head series all-time against Kansas, 13-10. In 2019, WVU won the three-game series, 2-1.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday at Monongalia County Ballpark. This is the final home series for the Mountaineers before they go on the road until April 14.