West Virginia baseball readies for road series at K-State

Gold and Blue Nation

The West Virginia University baseball team travels to Manhattan, Kansas, for a three-game, road series at Kansas State, from April 23-25.

Friday’s series opener is set for 7 p.m., ET, while Saturday and Sunday’s contests are scheduled for 5 p.m., and 2 p.m., respectively.

Fans can listen to all three games 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, each contest can be seen live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. For links to live stats, audio and video, visit WVUsports.com.

Friday night features two of the Big 12 Conference’s best left-handed pitchers in senior lefty Jackson Wolf (3-4, 3.45 ERA) and Kansas State sophomore southpaw Jordan Wicks (4-2, 3.42 ERA). On Saturday, sophomore left-hander Jake Carr (1-2, 10.96 ERA) battles K-State’s redshirt freshman right-hander Connor McCullough (2-2, 4.56 ERA), while Sunday’s series finale features freshman left-hander Ben Hampton (3-1, 3.81 ERA) against redshirt sophomore righty Carson Seymour (2-4, 6.53 ERA) of Kansas State.

WVU (14-16, 5-7 Big 12) enters the three-game set in possession of a 12-9 lead over Kansas State (21-15, 4-8 Big 12) in the all-time series, including 6-6 in Manhattan. In the two schools’ most recent series, the Mountaineers took two-of-three games over K-State, from May 10-12, 2019, on the road.

Last time out, West Virginia dropped two-of-three games to No. 7 Texas Tech, from April 16-18, in Morgantown. The Red Raiders won, 7-2, in the series opener, before WVU responded with a walk-off, 6-5 win on Saturday. The Mountaineers dropped the series finale on Sunday, 10-1.

Freshman infielder Mikey Kluska hit a walk-off, RBI fielder’s choice to help WVU top TTU on Saturday. In all, the White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, native finished 1-for-5 with two RBI on the day. Sophomore right-hander Jacob Watters was awarded the win after he pitched a clean, ninth inning, tallying three strikeouts.

For the series, senior catcher/outfielder Paul McIntosh went 4-for-10 with a pair of doubles and a run scored to lead the Mountaineers offensively.

Fifth-year senior first baseman/outfielder Hudson Byorick leads the Mountaineers with a .310 average at the plate in 2021, and his five doubles in conference play are tied for the league lead. Kluska continues to lead the squad in hits (35) and RBI (21), while fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Brophy and sophomore catcher/infielder Matt McCormick co-lead WVU with six home runs.

Junior outfielder Austin Davis and sophomore outfielder Victor Scott share the team lead in stolen bases, with nine.

On the mound, Wolf has logged a 3.45 ERA with 54 strikeouts in a team-best 47.0 innings, while Hampton shows a 3.81 ERA in 26.0 innings of work. Both have notched three wins this spring.

Saturday’s game in Manhattan will mark WVU coach Randy Mazey’s 800th career game as a head coach. The ninth-year, Mountaineer skipper has amassed a career mark of 439-357-2, including 252-197 at WVU.

WVU is 9-1 when leading after six innings this season. Additionally, the club is 8-0 when committing no errors and 6-1 when hitting multiple home runs in a game.

Kansas State is led by third-year coach Pete Hughes, who is 56-55 with the program. In all, he has more than 700 wins in his coaching career.

K-State enters this weekend winners of four of its last five games. The Wildcats are 21-15 overall, including 4-8 in Big 12 play. Last weekend, KSU took two of three from Oklahoma, from April 17-18, at home. Kansas State is 16-5 at home in 2021, but only 1-8 on the road.

The Wildcats have blasted 51 home runs as a team, good for No. 8 nationally. Junior outfielder Zach Kokoska has belted a team-best 12, while sophomore outfielder Dylan Phillips has left the yard 10 times. Phillips leads the club with a .365 average, 50 hits and 39 RBI.

On the mound, Wicks, a preseason All-America selection, is 4-2 with a 3.42 ERA. He has 73 strikeouts in 55.1 innings.

For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUBaseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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