The West Virginia baseball team returns to the east coast this weekend to take part in the Central Virginia Classic. The Mountaineers will begin with William & Mary, Friday at 3 p.m. before going to Richmond to take on VCU on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Richmond, Sunday at 12 p.m.
WVU is coming off a successful weekend in Arizona where the Mountaineers went 2-1 against the Wildcats. After strong performances throughout the week, which also included a win over No. 13 Maryland, sophomore JJ Wetherholt and fifth-year Blaine Traxel each took home honors from the Big 12 with Wetherholt earning Player of the Week and Traxel collecting Pitcher of the Week.
Wetherholt hit .529 (9-for17) with two home runs, three doubles, four RBI, and six runs scored while leading the Mountaineers to a 3-1 week. He was also 8-for-8 on stolen bases including a straight steal of home against the Wildcats in the 11th inning of a 6-5 victory.
Traxel put on the best pitching performance of the season on Saturday against Arizona, throwing a complete game with six strikeouts while allowing just one run on five hits. The Burbank, California native, with family in attendance, retired the final 13 batters that came to the plate and 21 of the last 24.
Traxel will once again get the Saturday start against the Rams with junior Ben Hampton taking the bump on Friday against the Tribe and sophomore Grant Siegel getting the nod for Sunday against the Spiders.
Starting the season against three NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, the Mountaineers have gone 4-3 with all games taking place on the road. William & Mary will be WVU’s first opponent that did not make last year’s tournament before going right back to tournament teams with VCU as the Rams reached a regional final last season.
Freshman Sam White leads the team with a .478 batting average while Wetherholt has a 1.389 OPS and two home runs, which lead the team. He also leads the team with 12 stolen bases.
The Mountaineers, known for their aggressiveness on the basepaths under head coach Randy Mazey, have not slowed down this year as they have stolen 23 bases. Additionally, WVU has not yet been caught stealing, which includes two straight steals of home. The next closest team in the country with the most stolen bases without being caught is South Carolina with 15.
On the mound, Traxel leads WVU with a 1.29 ERA after his complete-game performance while Hampton has a team-high 12 strikeouts.
William & Mary enters the weekend at 6-4 coming off a weekend in which the scored 59 runs in a three-game sweep of Marist.
Ben Williamson leads the team with a .463 average while Cole Ragone has a team-high two home runs and Max Winters leads with 12 RBI. Three different pitchers – Nate Knowles, Carter Lovasz, and Rojo Prarie – have each pitched at lead 8.0 innings this season without allowing a run.
VCU is 2-6 on the season after dropping two midweek contests to No. 13 North Carolina.
Will Carlone is hitting .500 with 17 RBI. William Bean and Logan Amiss each have two home runs to lead the team. Projected Saturday starter Christian Gordon is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA and eight strikeouts in 7.0 innings pitched.
Richmond enters the weekend with a 2-6 record after dropping a midweek contest to VMI. The Spiders picked up their first wins of the season against Yale last weekend.
Jake Elbeery leads the team with a .400 batting average while Alden Mathes has three home runs. Former Mountaineer Mikey Kluska is hitting .296 with a home run. Esteban Rodriguez has made three appearances out of the bullpen and has a 2.45 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 11.0 innings pitched.
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUBaseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.