CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Herd welcomes in-state rival West Virginia to Appalachian Power Park on Tuesday at 6 p.m. a game that will air on ESPN Huntington 94.1 FM and AM 930 and is streaming on both WRVC.com and on the Tune-In app, with Steve Cotton and Woody Woodrum making the call from “The APP”, nickname of Appalachian Power Park, the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates Class A South Atlantic League team, the West Virginia Power.
West Virginia’s baseball team jumped into the national rankings this week thanks to winning 2-of-3 against No. 3-ranked TCU, 5-4 with a walk-off win on Sunday. They lost to the Horned Frogs on Saturday, 8-6, and beat TCU on Friday by 5-4 also.
The Mountaineers are 21-13 overall, 8-4 in the Big 12 to date and have gone 2-1 in all four Big 12 series to date. They are No. 8 in this week’s RPI and are No. 21 in D1Baseball.com and Baseball America, No. 24 in the National College Baseball Writers Association poll (which Woody Woodrum is a member, but not eligible to vote) and No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Marshall is No. 97 in this week’s RPI, one of seven teams from Conference USA in the top 100. Louisiana Tech leads the league’s team with a RPI of 42 this week, followed by No. 52 ODU, No. 54 Charlotte, No. 63 Florida Atlantic (who Marshall was 1-2 at Boca Raton this past weekend), No. 83 Rice, No. 96 Middle Tennessee and the Herd. Marshall will host No. 112 FIU this weekend in Beckley, W.Va. at Linda K. Epling Stadium, home of the West Virginia Miners in the Prospect League – a summer college wooden bat league.
WVU is led by freshman Brandon White (Winter Springs, Fla.), hitting .360 and 11-of-16 on stolen bases, while sophomore Cole Austin (Kennesaw, Ga.) is hitting .326 with 6-of-7 on steals and senior Jackson Cramer (Coppell, Texas) is hitting .320 and leads WVU in home runs (7), RBI (30) and total bases (71) while slugging a team-best .555. As a team, the Mountaineers are hitting .286, with 50 doubles, 11 triples, and 31 home runs, and are 47-of-67 on steals and field at .972 as a team with 35 errors.
Pitching wise, the Mountaineers have a 4.06 earned run average, with 131 walks to 314 strikeouts and is holding opponents to .236 at the plate. Starter Michael Grove is 3-1 in eight starts with a 2.70 ERA and 61 strikeouts, both of the latter statistics are leading the team. BJ Myers is 3-2 in nine starts with a 3.38 ERA and Braden Zarbinsky is 4-0 with a 2.84 ERA, all in relief. Alek Manoah has a team-best two saves.
WVU beat Marshall in Morgantown on April 4, 14-7, and is 8-3 at Monogalia County Ballpark — also home of the Pittsburgh Pirates in the short-season rookie conference, the New York-Penn League. The Mountaineers scored 14 runs on 16 hits, helped by five Herd errors in the game. First baseman Cramer had three hits, scored three runs, with a home run, double and single while junior left fielder Kyle Davis also had three hits and drove in one run and freshman catcher Chase Illig had two hits, two walks and scored three runs with a RBI. Isaiah Kearns improved to 4-0 with 5.2 innings of 9-hits, 7-runs baseball with seven strikeouts.
First baseman Cramer had three hits against the Herd, scored three runs, with a home run, double and single while junior left fielder Kyle Davis also had three hits and drove in one run and freshman catcher Chase Illig had two hits, two walks and scored three runs with a RBI. Isaiah Kearns improved to 4-0 with 5.2 innings of 9-hits, 7-runs baseball with seven strikeouts.
Marshall starter Brad O’Connor gave up 11 hits and 11 runs (9 earned) in 3.2 innings against the Mountaineers. Niggemeyer pitched 3.1 innings and allowed just one run on fourth hits with seven Ks. Sager had a triple in the game on a 2-for-4 night and scored two runs, while third baseman Tyler Ratliff hit two home runs.
Fans will find tickets at $8 at the park, and large groups coming together can check with the Marshall ticket office at 1-800 THE HERD for special rates. There is also an all you can eat picnic down the left field line that will cost $25 and include your ticket and hot dogs, soda and beer. Students at Marshall need to check with the ticket office about the bus going to the game for Marshall students.
Tuesday starters will be Marshall right-handed pitcher Will Ray (1-1, 4.20 ERA), who is the Herd’s regular second baseman this seasons. He will face Kade Strowd (1-0, 2.84 ERA) of the Mountaineers but both teams will probably use a number of pitchers as is common for midweek games.
The following night, on Wednesday, April 19, the Herd will face the OU Bobcats on the second Wednesday in a row by traveling to Prasco Park on the campus of Prasco Laboratories in Mason, Ohio, in the Cincinnati metro area, northeast of the Queen City and near Kings Island, to face off with Ohio at 6 p.m. Marshall beat Ohio at George T. Smailes Baseball Field at the YMCA Kennedy Center, 12-9, in a game that lasted 3-hours and 40 minutes.
Prasco Park is the home of the National Christian College Athletic Association World Series May 23-27, hosts the G-MAC Baseball Championships May 10-13 — including Alderson Broaddus, Ohio Valley and Davis & Elkins from the Mountain State — and also hosts a full slate of high school games as well as occasional college games.
It is also the summer home of the Cincinnati Spikes, a travel-team baseball program located in Mason, Ohio. The College level Spikes team, celebrating its 17th year, was 24-5 last year, the 16under team 38-9-2, the 13under team went 56-9 and the 11under team finished 51-8.
Similar to most fields at the Major League level, the surface at Prasco Park has a sand substructure, allowing for optimal water drainage and softness. Atop the infield dirt, a thin layer of conditioner provides for consistent bounces, and the lush Kentucky Bluegrass infield and outfield. The base paths (90 feet) allow for senior youth, collegiate, and semi-pro games.
The outfield fence is 8-feet high from foul pole to foul pole, with a batter’s eye (18 feet high) in center field. The distances from home plate are as follows: left field – 325; left center – 380; center field – 395; right center – 355; right field – 325. The park seats over 1,000 with Diamond Decks on both sides of the press box, allowing up to 30 visitors on each.
Prasco Park also has an electronic scoreboard and collegiate-level lighting (50FootCandles on the infield, 30FC in the outfield), thus making the park a wonderful environment for both day and night games. Adjacent to the Prasco Park is Legacy Field, a completely synthetic field, where high school teams often play.
Xavier hosted Seton Hall just this past Thursday, April 13, and on April 19, high schools Fairfield and Princeton meet at 5 p.m., Middletown takes on Oak Hills after game one is played at Legacy Field. These two games are part of the Skyline Chili Reds Futures High School Showcase, which also had games on Monday and additional games this Friday.