The West Virginia baseball team opens the season this Friday when the Mountaineers travel to Jacksonville University for a three-game series over the weekend.
Many of the key contributors from last year’s historic squad are gone from the program. The Mountaineers set a school record with eight Major League Baseball draft picks in pitchers Alek Manoah, Nick Snyder, Kade Strowd and Sam Kessler, outfielders Brandon White and Darius Hill and catchers Chase Illig and Ivan Gonzalez.
However, this West Virginia team will be led by two Preseason All-Big 12 selections in catcher Paul McIntosh and second baseman Tyler Doanes, while senior Braden Zarbnisky will provide an impact on the mound and at the plate.
The middle of the field will see an injection of youth with sophomore Tevin Tucker taking the shortstop position and incoming freshman Victor Scott manning center field, while the rotation will include junior Jackson Wolf and sophomore Ryan Bergert.
The Mountaineers will look to replicate their successful previous season before experiencing a heartbreaking loss against Texas A&M in the NCAA Regional round.
As for Jacksonville, the Dolphins are coming off of a 32-27 season that ended in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament against Lipscomb. The Dolphins will be led by Scott DuBrule at second base, who hit .307 last season.
On the mound, Jacksonville returns sophomore Kevin Faulkner, who had a 2.93 ERA over 21 appearances last season.
First pitch from John Sessions Field in Jacksonville, Florida, will come Friday at 6 p.m. Saturday’s matchup is slated to start at 2 p.m., while the series finale on Sunday will begin at 1 p.m