After a 2-2 start to the season, the Mountaineers look to get on a hot streak this weekend as they travel down to Statesboro, Georgia for a three game weekend series against the Georgia Southern Eagles (1-2).
The Eagles took on Auburn University last weekend in Alabama, winning just 1 of 3 and playing in two consecutive 13-inning contests on Saturday and Sunday. The Eagles were supposed to have hosted Georgia Tech for their home opener on Tuesday evening, but the contest got rained out, so this Friday’s matchup against WVU will now open J.I Clements Stadium for the 2019 season.
On Friday night, the Mountaineers will send Alek Manoah to the mound for his second start of the season. In his first start, Manoah threw 6.0 innings, giving up just 5 hits, 1 earned run and striking out a career-high 13 batters in a no-decision. The flamethrower Golden Spikes watch list nominee, who was clocked at throwing in the upper 90’s with his fastball, will look to earn his first win of the season.
The Eagles will put their ace, Seth Shuman on the mound. Shuman, a member of the preseason Sun Belt All-Conference team was hammered for 7 runs in just 3.0 innings last Friday against Auburn. He also struck out 4 and walked 3.
On Saturday afternoon, WVU will send sophomore leftie Jackson Wolf to the mound. In his first start, he threw 5.0 innings, giving up 4 hits and just 1 run while striking out 4 in a win.
The Eagles will counter with freshman leftie Braden Hays, who gave up 4 runs (3 earned) on 6 hits and a walk with 2 strikeouts in 5.0 innings in his first collegiate start.
On Sunday morning, junior Kade Strowd will take the ball from Coach Mazey to start the game for the Mountaineers. Strowd struggled at times in his first start, going just 4.1 innings and giving up 3 runs. However, he gave up those 3 runs in the first 2 innings, after which he settled down and got 7 outs without allowing a run. He’ll look to take this game into the 5th or 6th inning on Sunday.
Daniel Collins pitched well against the SEC foe on Sunday, giving up just 1 run in 5 innings. He came away with a no-decision, but scattered 4 hits over his outing. The Mountaineers will look to jump on him early and give Strowd the early lead.
The Eagles are led on offense by several players:
- SS Austin Thompson, is batting .235 with 1 HR and 2 RBI’s.
- 1B Jason Swan is batting .333 with 1 double and 1 RBI.
- RF Christian Avant is batting .313 with 5 singles.
Through the first four games, the Mountaineers have struggled at times on offense. Specifically, strikeouts. WVU has struck out 39 times so far, which is more than 1 per inning. West Virginia needs to focus on putting the ball in play more frequently this weekend if they want to come away with a series win.
Here are the offensive leaders for the Mountaineers thus far this season:
- RF Darius Hill is batting .278 with 2 doubles and 1 RBI.
- 1B Marques Inman is batting .267 with 2 HR’s and 2 RBI.
- 2B Tyler Doanes is batting .357 with 1 double and 1 RBI.
- C Ivan Gonzalez is batting .188 with 1 HR and 4 RBI.
- DH Paul McIntosh is batting .125 with 3 RBI.
- LF Austin Davis has 5 stolen bases, while CF Brandon White, 2B Doanes and SS Tevin Tucker each have 1 stolen base.
The Mountaineers have a chance to get their season back on track with a series win this weekend. It should be a good matchup against the Georgia Southern Eagles! Check back in after each game for a recap of the action. Let’s go, Mountaineers!