MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Robby Porco had what you could call a typical introduction to college baseball for a freshman pitcher.
In his first four collegiate appearances, the first-year right-hander was responsible for 12 earned runs across 7 2/3 innings pitched, giving up 13 hits and six walks.
As expected of a talented freshman, Porco improved quickly. The six-foot, eight-inch pitcher out of Pennsylvania has made five appearances since the middle of March. Over those 9 2/3 innings, Porco has surrendered just four earned runs, given up just five hits, and has improved his strikeout-to-walk ratio.
He has also earned a pair of victories, to improve his personal record to 3-1.
Those improvements have culminated in Porco being announced as West Virginia’s Sunday starter in this weekend’s series against visiting Kansas.
“He’s a pretty talented kid, and he’s got one really good start under his belt,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “[I’m] anxious to see what he can do on Sunday.”
Mazey is looking for better production out of the Sunday starter role.
Transfer sophomore Grant Siegel (2-2, 7.09 ERA) has started seven games on the bump for the Mountaineers this year. However, he has given up at least three runs in five of those starts, and has been unable to get through the third inning in each of his last two.
Sunday’s outing will not be Porco’s first start on a college baseball mound. The young hurler pitched well in February in a start on the road against No. 13 Maryland. He tossed five innings, gave up just two runs, and scattered five hits against the nationally ranked Terrapins. It was only his second appearance for the Mountaineers.
The outing produced Porco’s first collegiate winning decision. It was also followed by eight runs allowed over 2 1/3 innings in his next two appearances, one of which resulted in his first loss against the sub-.500 Richmond Spiders.
The Warrington, Pennsylvania native rebounded and has turned into one of Mazey’s reliable pitchers.
“He’s got a really high ceiling. He’s got a chance to be a superstar here,” said Mazey. “He takes his lumps early in his career just like Alek Manoah, Michael Grove, and all the superstars did.”
Porco’s ERA through nine appearances thus far is 8.31, the second-highest on the Mountaineers’ pitching staff. However, his earned-run average over his last five outings is a respectable 3.72.
Porco’s second start in a college baseball game is scheduled to get underway at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday at Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark.