After clinching the regular season Big 12 championship, which will guarantee the Red raiders have the #1 overall seed in the Big 12 tournament next week, the series against West Virginia may be overlooked. Finals have finished, the team cannot move up in the conference standings, and the games that matter are a week away. West Virginia is a team on absolute fire lately, winning 10 straight overall, 4 straight conference games, and 13 of their last 14 games. This has every indication of being a "trap" series.
Inside West Virginia
The Mountaineers are currently 32-19 with an 11-9 record in the Big 12. They have played 1 less conference game than some other Big 12 teams due to a game in Lawrence that was cancelled. They are currently ranked 4th in the conference, just a 1/2 game back of TCU for 3rd and 2.5 back of OSU for 2nd. This series could move them up in the standings, depending on the other games this weekend with TCU hosting KSU and OSU hosting KU. A better start to the season for WV may have put them in better contention for the Big 12. They were swept by TCU, and would lose series against KSU and OU, teams with sub .500 conference records. Lately they have been almost unstoppable, and haven't lost since April 30th against Baylor. They have swept UT and William & Mary the past 2 weekends on their way to the longest current winning streak in the nation.
Freshman pitcher Michael Grove, who just won his 2nd Big 12 Newcomer of the Week award this season, will be a player to watch for. He starts the game tonight, coming off a 13-strikeout performance against Maryland on May 10th. A Big 12 pitcher has struck out 13 batters 4 times this season, and Grove has accounted for 2 of those. As a staff, WV has 454 strikeouts, which leads the conference. Friday's starting pitcher, Chad Donato has 100 of those strikeouts.
Game 1 - Thursday May 19th - 6:30pm (FSSW)
Michael Grove (2-3, 3.63 ERA) vs Davis Martin (8-0, 2.24 ERA)
Game 2 - Friday May 20th - 2:00pm (FSSW)
Chad Donato (3-3, 3.34 ERA) vs Steven Gingery (4-1, 2.68 ERA)
Game 3 - Saturday May 21st - 2:00pm (FSSW+)
TBD vs Ty Harpenau (1-0, 5.79 ERA)
Also, prior to the game tonight, Tech will be receiving the Big 12 Championship Trophy for winning the regular season title.