After what most would consider to be a disappointing regular season, the West Virginia University baseball team will open Big 12 Tournament play on Tuesday evening, as they play Kansas in the first round of the Big 12 Baseball Tournament.
West Virginia is the No. 8 seed in the tournament that fields all nine teams from the Big 12 that have baseball programs. West Virginia finished with an 8-16 conference record, tied with Kansas for worst in the conference. Because West Virginia took the season series against the Jayhawks, the Mountaineers were able to get the No. 8 seed, while Kansas is the No. 9 seed.
If the Mountaineers are able to beat Kansas, they will move on to face No. 1 seed Texas on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. The Big 12 Tournament is a double elimination style tournament except for the first round matchup between Kansas, meaning if West Virginia loses they are eliminated.
Carlson Reed will get the start for the Mountaineers as he has been one of the better pitchers for the Mountaineers towards the end of the season. In his last three appearances, Reed (4-4) has thrown 15.1 innings pitched, allowing three hits, three earned runs, while walking six and striking out 17. It is likely, that if the Mountaineers are able to win their ace Jackson Wolf (5-5) will take the mound on Wednesday after throwing 106 pitches on Friday against Texas, while picking up the win.
It will be interesting to see the lineup head coach Randy Mazey goes with as Mazey has used multiple lineup configurations towards the end of the year to try and figure out what works. Mazey has also been experimenting with the bullpen, in order to try and find his go-to relievers in the latter innings of games.
This is the first time the tournament is being played since 2019, as the tournament was cancelled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is being held in Oklahoma City, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
West Virginia will look to make win its first Big 12 Tournament title, after making it to the championship game in 2016, and in 2019, but losing in both games.
Photo by Dale Sparks, WVU