One of the best baseball teams in West Virginia University history could see its conclusion Saturday afternoon in Kentucky.
WVU will play an elimination game against Ball State after each team lost its first-round matchup in the Lexington Regional.
No. 2 WVU vs. No. 4 Ball State elimination game information
- Location: Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky
- All-time series: WVU is 2-0 against Ball State since 2015.
- Last meeting: The Mountaineers won the last matchup 4-1 in 2017.
- West Virginia record: 39-19
- Ball State record: 36-22
- Date: Saturday, June 3, 2023
- Time: 12:00 p.m. ET
- TV/stream: ESPN+
- Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network
- WVU probable starter: LHP Ben Hampton (5-3, 4.17 ERA)
- Ball State probable starter: TBD
Ball State was the hottest team in the Lexington Regional leading up to NCAA Tournament play. The Cardinals won the MAC Tournament as the conference’s No. 3 seed. They punched their ticket in a bizarre, yet wildly entertaining, MAC Championship game that saw the Cardinals lose an 8-2 lead in the eighth before slugging a game-winning grand slam in the ninth inning.
They were the only team in the Regional to begin play coming off a win.
The Cardinals’ run came to an end Friday in a 4-0 shutout loss to host-Kentucky despite the efforts of ace Trennor O’Donnell. Ball State mustered just four hits in the losing effort.
O’Donnell made the most starts on the mound for Ball State during the regular season. Righties Ty Johnson (4-2, 3.81 ERA) and Ty Weatherly (2-4, 7.11 ERA) each have eight-plus starts this season and are prime candidates to start Saturday.
All signs point toward lefty Ben Hampton starting for WVU on Saturday. Hampton is tied for Blaine Traxel with the most starts on the team (15), and he holds a 5-3 record with a 4.17 ERA.
Catcher Dayne Leonard erupted for a 3-for-4 performance in Friday’s loss after going 0-for-19 in the previous five games. Landon Wallace also provided an offensive spark against Indiana with a home run.
Big 12 Player of the Year JJ Wetherholt doubled in a 1-for-4 showing.