Monday, October 24, 2016

Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship preview

Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst

Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst

Tulsa, Okla.–The West Virginia Mountaineers are set to take on No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Wednesday in the opening round of the  2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship.  The game is slated for 8:30 p.m. ET, at ONEOK Field and is the first game of double-elimination play.

West Virginia (27, 25, 9-13 Big 12) enter the tournament as the N0. 7 seed and are coming of a series win last weekend at home against Texas Tech.

Freshman Kyle Davis leads the Mountaineers’ offense with a .353 batting average. He has 17 doubles, one triple, four home runs and 31 RBIs.

Sophomore first baseman Jackson Cramer is hitting a .292 clip with 15 doubles, one triple, eight home runs and 20 RBIs.

Senior Shortstop Taylor Munden leads West Virginia with 11 home runs. He has driven in 31 RBIs during the regular season.

Davis, Cramer and Munden were named to the All-Big 12 Second Team on Tuesday.

Oklahoma State is led by sophomore outfielder Ryan Sluder, who is hitting .316 with 13 doubles, six home runs and 22 RBIs. Junior outfielder Corey Hassel is batting .312 with 30 RBIs.

The Mountaineers will send sophomore right-hander Chad Donato (7-5, 3.01 ERA) to the mound. Donato led the Mountaineers last Thursday against Texas Tech. He allowed four runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in seven innings.

The Cowboys will start the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, senior left-hander Michael Freeman (9-2, 1.06 ERA).

Freeman ranks No. 4 nationally in ERA and has struck out 85 batters in 93.2 innings, holding opponents to a .183 batting average.

West Virginia won 5-4 over Oklahoma State in the only game the two teams were able to play. Two games were canceled due to rain and lightning.

The Mountaineers played hard last weekend to clinch a berth in the tournament and will look to carry the momentum over against the Cowboys.


Other Match Ups:

No. 5 Texas Longhorns vs. No. 4 Texas Tech Red Raiders 

The battle of the Lone Star State will take place at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday. The Longhorns finished the regular season with a 26-25 record and went 11-13 in the Big 12. The Red Raiders lost their final series of the season to the Mountaineers but finished 30-22 overall and 13-11 in the conference. Texas will send ace Parker French (3-3, 2.40 ERA) to the mound in the first game. He shut out the Red Raiders, while allowing seven hits and fanning a season high seven batters. French will face senior right-hander Cameron Smith (6-4, 2.94 ERA).  The Longhorns are coming off a series victory over Baylor, where they batted .317 and hit seven homers.

No. 8 Baylor Bears vs No. 1 TCU Horned Frogs

Defending Big 12 Tournament champ and No. 1 seed, TCU (43-9, 18-5) will take on Baylor (21-30, 9-13) at 12:30 p.m. ET. The Horned Frogs are the second best team in the NCAA with a 2.22 ERA. TCU has three starters with an ERA below 2.00 and a solid bullpen. The Horned Frogs will send lefty Alex Young (9-2, 1.82 ERA) to the mound against Baylor’s southpaw Daniel Castano (4-6, 3.30).

No. 6 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners

Oklahoma (32-25, 13-11) will take on Kansas State at 4 p.m. ET. The Sooners are a legit contender to give the defending champs a run. Oklahoma has the second best team batting average at .282. Kolbey Carpenter leads Oklahoma’s offense with a .363 clip, second best in the Big 12. Tyler Wolfe leads the Wildcats with a .366 batting average.


The Big 12 Championship will have all games televised on Fox College Sports, and the Mountaineers can be heard on the affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG.



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