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West Virginia Mountaineers Vs. Jacksonville Dolphins Preview: The Return Home

The Mountaineers return to Morgantown after 18 straight games on the road.

Geoff Coyle/WV Illustrated

OPENING THOUGHTS

Okay, now that basketball season has come to an abrupt close (but not quick enough for Chris Webber), we here at the Smoking Musket will begin covering baseball as much as we can.

This will include series/game previews as well as recaps and various stories from around the Big 12.

Now that we have seen what Randy Mazey has done with this team as he has taken a Big East bottom feeder playing in Hawley Field (terrible place to watch a game by the way) to being on the brink of a Big 12 title and an NCAA Regionals appearance, we need to start paying a little more attention.

For those of you who have only caught glimpses of the team this year, here is what the Mountaineers have done so far:

While a series loss at Tulane is not ideal, losses at Old Dominion and Charlotte aren’t so bad (Conference USA is actually a decent baseball conference).

You obviously also can’t ignore going 4-1 in games against Top 25 teams, including a 22-9 domination of the defending national champs Coastal Carolina in front of a near-sold out crowd at their own stadium.

That was awesome to be sure.

With nationally-ranked teams Texas Tech, Oklahoma and TCU coming to Morgantown this spring, some more awesomeness could be in store.

WHEN/WHERE

Game 1: Friday, March 24th at 6:30 PM ET (WVU won 5-3)

Game 2: Saturday, March 25th at 3:00 PM ET

Game 3: Immediately following Game 2

Where: Monongalia County Ballpark, Granville, WV

John Lowe

Tickets: General Public (Game 1 ; Games 2 & 3) ; WVU Students free with ID

WATCH/LISTEN

Streaming Video: Mountaineer TV

Radio: WRLF 94 Rock (94.3 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Affiliates)

Streaming Audio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn Radio app for smartphones)

STARTING PITCHERS (WVU VS. JU)

Game 1: BJ Myers (2-1, 3.90 ERA, 24 K, 6 BB, 32.1 IP) vs. Michael Baumann (1-2, 3.04 ERA, 34 K, 9 BB, 26.2 IP) (W: Kade Stroud, 1-0; L: Spencer Stockton, 3-2)

Game 2: Michael Grove (1-1, 4.24 ERA, 23 K, 10 BB, 17.0 IP) vs. Chris Gau (2-2, 2.70 ERA, 32 K, 4 BB, 30.0 IP)

Game 3: Conner Dotson (3-2, 4.44 ERA, 24 K, 18 BB, 26.1 IP) vs. Casey Kulina (1-0, 2.79 ERA, 32 K, 8 BB, 29.0 IP)

BIG 12 STANDINGS

TEAM RECORD
TEAM RECORD
#3 Texas Tech (20-4) 3-0
#25 Oklahoma (22-4) 1-0
#4 TCU (15-5) 3-1
West Virginia (11-8) 2-1
Kansas (10-11) 1-2
#22 Baylor (17-5) 1-3
Texas (15-10) 1-3
Kansas State (15-7) 0-1
Oklahoma State (15-7) 0-1

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Jacksonville, Florida

Visit Jacksonville

Series History: First meeting

Last Time: First meeting

Record: 11-12 (0-0 Atlantic Sun)

Record in 2016: 33-22 (14-7 Atlantic Sun)

Head Coach: Chris Hayes

The Florida Times-Union

KEYS TO THE SERIES

  • Can Cole Austin keep the hit streak going? The third baseman from Cobb County, Georgia has recorded a hit in every game since WVU’s series-opening loss to Tulane on March 3. He has a batting average of .571. Can he keep it going?
  • Rain? There could be rain. Hopefully there won’t be rain. Because rain would be bad.

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE? (SCALE 1-10)

Two. I’m as afraid of Jacksonville as I am of Billy Finn from Family Guy (voiced by Ricky Gervais).

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

I’m a little nervous to predict a sweep, only because this is WEST VIRGINIA we’re talking about. Any time the Mountaineers play some mediocre team, they come out less than impressive. But, I think the Baylor series gave the team some momentum heading into the home portion of the schedule.

West Virginia sweeps Jacksonville 3-0