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THE SHOTGUN THROWDOWN: West Virginia Baseball Preview Edition

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Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.

NCAA Baseball: Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.

WVU BASEBALL PREVIEW

The 2022 baseball season is set to begin for the Mountaineers. Head coach Randy Mazey is back for his tenth season at West Virginia, and just like in other college sports, he is having to adjust to the transfer portal era. Mazey has three fifth-year seniors that are taking advantage of their extra eligibility, along with four additional seniors, but he also knows that if his younger players aren’t happy with their playing time situation then they can just take the easy way out and hop into the transfer portal. The veteran coach knows that traditional program building is becoming a thing of the past, and the new era will be about building year-to-year teams.

The WVU pitchers will be led by junior right-hander Jacob Watters. The Bland County, Virginia, native has earned Preseason All-American and Preseason All-Big 12 honors. Watters finished 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 19 appearances last year. The reliever also logged 53 strikeouts in 27 innings and opponents hit just .165 against him.

Senior outfielder Austin Davis also earned Preseason All-Big 12 honors. He led the Mountaineers in hitting last season with a .320 and had 11 extra-base hits. Davis also had 28 runs, 18 RBI, and 17 stolen bases.

Offensively, WVU will be relying on speed to take their opponents out of their comfort zone. Coach Mazey wants opposing teams, and especially opposing pitchers, to hate playing against his Mountaineers because of that speed and unpredictability. As for pitching, WVU will look to transfer newcomers to start many of their games, with Watters coming in as the closer.

The Mountaineers start the 2022 season in Conway, South Carolina, this weekend. They will face Central Michigan (twice), Kent State, and Coastal Carolina during the road trip. The game against the hosting Chanticleers will be streamed on ESPN+ at noon ET on Monday.

WEST VIRGINIA ROUNDUP

  • The WVU tennis team is now 4-2 after back-to-back wins. West Virginia beat Duquesne, 6-1, and Youngstown State, 5-2, this weekend.
  • The West Virginia golf team finished in 10th place at the Gators Invitational this weekend. Fifth-year senior Mark Goetz led the Mountaineers at their first spring tournament with a top-10 finish individually.
  • The West Virginia women’s basketball team lost to then-#10 Baylor on Saturday, 75-57. Senior guard Madisen Smith almost had a triple-double for the Mountaineers with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.
  • Former West Virginia golfer Etienne Papineau had his first PGA Tour start last week at the WM Phoenix Open.

AROUND THE BIG 12

  • Baylor moved up to #7 in the Associated Press men’s basketball rankings after its 80-63 win over #20 Texas. Unfortunately for the Bears, junior forward Jonathan “Everyday Jon” Tchamwa Tchatchoua will be out for the rest of the season after suffering a left knee injury in this game.
  • Then-#9 Texas Tech was upset by the Oklahoma men’s basketball team last week, 70-55. Senior guard Umoja Gibson had a huge game for the Sooners with 30 points and eight made three-pointers.
  • #7 Baylor ran away with a 75-60 win over the Kansas State basketball team last Wednesday.

AROUND THE NCAA

  • #24 UConn might be back on track following a 63-60 win over the St. John’s basketball team. The Huskies had lost three of their last four games before this win.
  • Last week the SMU men’s basketball team was down 15, but scored 45 points in the second half to upset then-#6 Houston. Senior guard Kendric Davis had a great all-around game for the Mustangs with 22 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, and three steals.

ODDS AND ENDS

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