Sunday, October 23, 2016

Series Preview: Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers

Photo Credit: Dale Sparks- All-Pro Photography- WVU Sports

Photo Credit: Dale Sparks- All- Pro Photography- WVU Sports

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– The No. 23 Oklahoma Sooners (24-15) will travel to Morgantown for a three-game series against the West Virginia Mountaineers (21-13) on April 17-19 at Monongalia County Ballpark starting Friday evening.

The Sooners moved into a first-place tie in the Big 12 with a 3-2 win at No.25 Texas on Sunday afternoon. West Virginia is in sixth place in the conference.

Both the Sooners and the Mountaineers are coming off out-of-conferences losses Tuesday.  West Virginia fell 5-3 in a trap game to Penn State while Oklahoma lost 7-5 to No. 16 Dallas Baptist.

Despite being in first place, the Sooners think their best baseball is yet to come.

“[We can improve our] consistency. Consistency as an offense, defense, pitching staff, everything,” Oklahoma shortstop Sheldon Neuse said. “I don’t think we’ve played our best ball yet.”

West Virginia has won the series against the Sooners every year since joining the Big 12.

The Mountaineers have found success at home, going 7-1 while Oklahoma struggles on the road, at 6-7.

West Virginia heads into the weekend leading the Big 12 with its .287 batting average but the Sooners are right there behind them with a .286 team average.

“They’re maybe the scariest team in the league because they have the best lineup. They’ve got the first or second best pitching in the league with their quality of arms,” Coach Randy Mazey said. “This is as good of a team as there is out there. They’re very capable of coming in here and putting it on you three times if you don’t play well.”

Freshman Kyle Davis leads the Mountaineers with his .378 average. He also leads the team with 15 doubles and 24 RBI.

West Virginia’s senior third baseman Justin Fox has a .317 average with nine doubles, one triple and three home runs. Senior shortstop Taylor Munden leads the team with eight home runs and sophomore right fielder Shaun Wood leads the team with 25 RBIs.

Junior Craig Aiken leads Oklahoma with a .358 average and Junior Kolbey Carpenter is second on the team with a .336 average.  Neuse leads the team with 31 RBIs, while batting .302 with five doubles, three triples and five home runs.

The Mountaineers will send freshman right-hander BJ Myers to the mound on Friday. Myers is 2-1 with a 3.63 ERA.

Junior Ross Vance (5-2, 2.79 ERA) will pitch on Saturday and sophomore right-hander Chad Donato (5-3, 1.61 ERA) on Sunday.

Vance went eight shutout innings in a victory last Saturday against Butler and Donato struck out a career-high 10 batters against the Bulldogs on Sunday.

Oklahoma will send right-handers Jake Elliott (3-3, 2.68 ERA) on Friday, Alec Hansen (4-4, 3.40 ERA) and Robert Tasin (6-1, 1.66 ERA).

Offensively and on the rubber, Oklahoma and West Virginia are evenly matched. It should make for a fun weekend at the ballpark.

Friday’s game is slated for a 6 p.m. start and will be a Family Day, which includes four tickets, four hot dogs, four soft drinks and one popcorn for just $25 at Following the game, Coca-Cola is sponsoring a fireworks show.

Saturday’s game starts at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s finale begins at 11 a.m.

The entire series will be available for a free video stream, courtesy of Coca-Cola or the game can be heard on the affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG.





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