Series Preview: WVU travels to No. 8/9 TTU
WV Sports Now
West Virginia (9-12, 0-3 Big 12) will try to put an end to its four-game losing streak on the road this weekend, but it won’t be easy against No. 8/9 Texas Tech (21-5, 0-0).
The Red Raiders are a top 11 team in all the major polls and are the top RPI team in the country.
Not only that, but Randy Mazey’s club faces off against Red Raider’s team that hasn’t lost at home yet this season – a perfect 14-0.
The Mountaineers were swept last weekend in Norman, as the pitching staff struggled the first two games, and the hitting attack was largely silenced Saturday and Sunday.
This is WVU’s first four-game losing streak since 2016.
West Virginia’s hitters get the benefit of not having to battle against Texas Tech ace, and 2017 Big 12 Pitcher of the Year, Steven Gingery, who’s going to miss the entire season with an arm injury he suffered in his first outing of the year. However, the Mountaineers hit well off Gingery in last year’s series in Morgantown.
Instead, WVU hitters will face a trio of starting pitchers with sub-3.00 ERAs.
Starters Davis Martin (4-1, 2.70) and Caleb Kilian (2-1, 0.93) both command opposing batting averages below .200, while John McMillon’s (4-0, 2.56) OppBA is only .217.
All three of West Virginia’s scheduled starting pitchers – Isaiah Kearns (0-1, 4.66), Alek Manoah (1-3, 3.86) and Kade Strowd (2-3, 3.67) – have earned run averages at least one run higher, and only Strowd has had better success against opposing hitters than any of the three TTU starters.
Offensively, Texas Tech by Josh Jung and Grant Little. Both had outstanding freshman campaigns that garnered them unanimous selections to the All-Big 12 Freshman team, while Jung was named the 2017 conference Freshman of the Year.
Jung leads Texas Tech with a .398 batting average and 34 runs batted in, while he is among the team leaders in doubles, home runs, and on-base percentage.
Little is just behind him, hitting at a .392 clip, leads the Red Raiders with ten doubles and is tied for the team lead with 19 walks.
As a team, Tim Tadlock’s club leads the Big 12 in most major statistical categories, and the Red Raiders are the only team to have clubbed more home runs than the Mountaineers.
Multiple TTU hitters are among the best in the Big 12 in average, hits runs scored and RBI.
West Virginia has lost the regular season series to Texas Tech in three of the last four years, though traditionally it’s been one of the both teams’ hardest fought series of the season. Just one run separated last year’s series, and WVU got revenge with a 12-7 extra innings, comeback win over the Red Raiders in the Big 12 Tournament.
First pitch from Dan Law Field is scheduled for Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Friday’s opening pitch is scheduled for the same time, with the series finale set to begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
All six starters are right-handed pitchers. Kearns and Marin take the bump Thursday with Kilian and Manoah starting on the mound Friday. Saturday’s game will be pitched by Strowd and McMillon.