MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The dates and times are set. The opponent is clear. West Virginia will play its first NCAA Tournament game since 2019 on Friday night in Lexington, Kentucky.
The Mountaineers are making their 14th appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and it is the third time head coach Randy Mazey has led his team to the NCAA Regionals. Mazey broke a 21-year postseason drought for the Mountaineers with his first tournament appearance at WVU in 2017. He is seeking the program’s first ever Regional title.
No. 2 WVU vs. No. 3 Indiana first-round information
- Location: Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky
- All-time series: Indiana is 2-0 against West Virginia since 2010.
- Last meeting: The Hoosiers defeated the Mountaineers 8-5 in a March neutral-site game in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in 2013.
- West Virginia record: 39-18
- Indiana record: 41-18
- Date: Friday, June 2, 2023
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- TV/stream: ESPN+
- Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network
- WVU probable starter: TBD
- Indiana probable starter: TBD
Indiana enters the NCAA Tournament nearly as cold as West Virginia. The Hoosiers lost four of their last six games to end the season. They went 1-2 in the Big Ten Tournament.
Their .299 team batting average was tied for the second-best in the Big Ten while holding the fourth-best ERA (5.16) on the mound. The Hoosiers’ biggest weakness is fielding. No Big Ten team is within five of Indiana’s conference-high 66 errors.
Five of their everyday starters are hitting .300 or above. Catcher Brock Tibbitts leads the team with a .372 average, while outfielder Devin Taylor has hit a team-high 16 homers. Taylor is also hitting .317, while Tibbitts has swung for 10 home runs.
Lefties Ben Seiler (1-3, 5.72 ERA) and Ty Bothwell (4-2, 7.03 ERA), as well as righty Luke Sinnard (6-3. 4.16 ERA), are the prime candidates to start on the mound for Indiana on Friday.
For the Mountaineers, lefty Ben Hampton (5-3, 4.17 ERA) and righty Blaine Traxel (7-5, 3.79 ERA) are the obvious candidates for starting pitcher in Friday’s first-round matchup.
After his performance in the Big 12 Tournament against Texas Tech, freshman David Hagaman (1-2, 3.06 ERA) is also an option, per Mazey. Veteran righty Aidan Major (3-2, 5.44 ERA) and freshman right-hander Carson Estridge (3-1, 4.91 ERA) could be dark-horse candidates to start Friday.
West Virginia enters Friday’s game on its coldest losing streak in over two years, dropping five in a row. The Mountaineers have a -41 run differential during that span.
A historic season has produced an NCAA Tournament birth amid this rough stretch for WVU. They set the regular-season program record in wins (39). They won a share of the Big 12 regular-season title. JJ Wetherholt won Big 12 Player of the Year. Randy Mazey won Big 12 Coach of the Year. They swept Big 12 Tournament Champion TCU, and won six-of-eight conference series.
According to the NCAA, they built a resume strong enough to withstand an untimely losing streak, and the result is the No. 2 seed in Kentucky.