The Red Raiders are on the road for the final time in the regular season to take on the Mountaineers in Morgantown. The No. 12 ranked Mountaineers start the series with a 37-12 season record and a 13-5 conference record which leads the Big 12. West Virginia has dominated conference play, losing only one conference series to Kansas, taking the series against, at the time, No. 18 ranked OSU in Stillwater, sweeping Baylor in Waco and TCU in Morgantown. To put it lightly, this series is a big one for the Red Raiders.
Friday’s matchup will feature LHP Mason Molina (4.22 ERA) for the Red Raiders and LHP Ben Hampton (3.95 ERA) for West Virginia. Hampton enters the series with 70.2 innings over 12 appearances for the Mountaineers, allowing 75 hits, 33 runs, 8 home runs, and 25 walks while recording 61 strikeouts. Saturday’s matchup will be between RHP Trendan Parish (4.65 ERA) for Texas Tech and RHP Blaine Traxel (3.32 ERA). Traxel starts the series with 86.2 innings over 13 appearances for West Virginia, allowing 78 hits, 38 runs, 12 home runs, and 18 walks while recording 62 strikeouts. Sunday’s pitcher for the Red Raiders has yet to be announced but they will face RHP Robby Porco (7.60 ERA). Porco enters the series with 34.1 innings over 14 appearances for the Mountaineers, allowing 33 hits, 31 runs, 7 home runs, and 27 walks while recording 43 strikeouts.
Of the 10 batters that have played in the majority of West Virginia’s games, four are batting above .300. J.J. Wetherholt leads the Mountaineers in batting average with .470, hits with 85, runs with 62, doubles with 20, and home runs with 14. Tevin Tucker (.338 AVG) and Caleb McNeely (.299 AVG) tie for the team lead in walks with 33 each.
This final road series of the regular season is a huge one for the Red Raiders in terms of their post-season hopes. As of May 10th, the Red Raiders were one of the last five in per D1 Baseballs field projections posted on Twitter by Kendall Rogers. This series will be far from an easy one, the Red Raiders have struggled on the road this season but with the bats getting hot in the last two series, ACU and Sam Houston, all hope is not lost. The Red Raiders will have to fight to come out with a series win before returning home for the final series of the regular season against Kansas.