The #20 West Virginia Mountaineers (22-13) (6-6) baseball team is absolutely on fire. Winners of 9 of their last 12, including 3 consecutive series victories over ranked Big XII opponents, they will now welcome the Kansas Jayhawks (19-16) (4-8) to town.
Although the Jayhawks are in last place in the Big XII, this is not a team that WVU can look past. They’re fresh off a series victory against Oklahoma State last weekend and they’ve won games against Baylor and Texas Tech this year, so yeah, they can play.
Offensively, there really isn’t much that separates the Mountaineers and Jayhawks statistically. In the Big XII team rankings, which obviously don’t directly correlate to team success, WVU and KU are right next to each other in hits, runs, doubles, home runs and RBI’s.
Pitching is what sets the Mountaineers apart. Led by our excellent starting rotation of Manoah, Wolf and Strowd, the WVU staff has posted a fantastic 3.26 ERA, good for 2nd in the Big XII. Kansas, however, is in last place with a 5.59 ERA.
Kansas Jayhawks: Who to Watch For
As a team, KU is averaging 5.5 runs per game, led by their best player, Jaxx Groshans, who is tied for 3rd in the conference with 34 RBI’s. As mentioned above, Kansas doesn’t have good numbers from their pitching staff, but part of the reason for that is because they gave up 27 runs last Friday to Oklahoma State. Their #1 starter, Ryan Cyr, got absolutely obliterated a week ago, giving up 10 runs in just 2.2 innings, which ruined his ERA.
- Jaxx Groshans (Jr., C) is the unquestioned leader of this Jayhawk team. He’s leading the team in hits (40) while batting .333, runs (32), home runs (11) and RBI’s (34)
- Benjamins Sems (Jr., SS) is 2nd on the team in batting with a .303/.418/.822 line. He’s playing a good shortstop, has stolen 11 bases and has driven in 24 runs on 6 doubles.
- Skyler Messinger (So., 3B) is having a nice year at the plate, as well. He’s batting .268 with 2 HR’s and 21 RBI’s, along with 7 stolen bases.
Another series victory (hopefully a sweep) will result in the Mountaineers remaining in the Top 25 for another week. Right now, WVU is projected as the #14 seed, which means they would host a regional and stand a good chance to go deep into the NCAA Tournament.
Let’s go, Mountaineers!