Mountaineers Trek to Coastal Carolina Tournament

Gold and Blue Nation

The Mountaineers are slated to play a trio of teams at the event, beginning on Friday morning against Kennesaw State at 11:30 a.m. ET. WVU battles event host Coastal Carolina on Saturday at 3 p.m., before it wraps the weekend against Bryant on Sunday at 11 a.m. 

Live stats of all three games can be found on WVUsports.com. Additionally, ESPN+ will carry Saturday’s contest against the Chanticleers. 

Senior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf (0-0, 1.80 ERA) gets the ball for West Virginia on Friday against Kennesaw State, while the Owls counter with junior right-hander Luke Torbert (0-0, 6.75 ERA). On Saturday, junior left-hander Adam Tulloch (0-0, 6.75 ERA) battles Coastal Carolina’s junior righty Nick Parker (0-0, 3.60 ERA), before sophomore lefty Jake Carr (0-1, 135.00 ERA) is scheduled to take on senior right-hander Tyler Schoff (0-0, 1.80 ERA) of Bryant on Sunday.

Friday marks the third consecutive season that WVU and Kennesaw State will meet on the diamond. The all-time series is tied at 1-1, with West Virginia winning the most recent meeting, 7-1, on Feb. 21, 2020, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Saturday marks the 14th meeting between the Mountaineers and Chanticleers. Overall, Coastal leads the series, 9-4. The two clubs met last season, with CCU earning a 14-2 win on Feb. 23, 2020, in Conway.

WVU holds a 3-0 series advantage against Bryant. However, the two schools haven’t met since 2011. The Mountaineers last swept the Bulldogs in a doubleheader (6-1 and 7-6) on March 8, 2011, in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers (2-2) appear at No. 23 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 this week, while the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) listed WVU at No. 27 in its weekly Top 30 poll. West Virginia continues to rank No. 22 in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll, which was not released this week. 

Last time out, West Virginia earned a series split in its season-opening trip to Georgia State from Feb. 19-21, in Atlanta, Georgia. WVU posted a 5-3 win in 10 innings on Opening Day (Feb. 19), before falling twice in a doubleheader on Feb. 20, 7-6 in 10 innings and 20-4. The squad capped the weekend with a 3-2 win over the Panthers on Feb. 21.

Redshirt junior catcher/outfielder Vince Ippoliti was the hero in the squad’s season-opening win, as the Houston, Texas, native smacked a two-run home run in the top of the 10th to put the Mountaineers in front. Then, junior right-handed pitcher Madison Jeffrey got the win on the mound after tallying 1.2, hitless frames with three strikeouts.

WVU trailed, 6-3, in the top of the ninth in the opening contest of the doubleheader, before it rallied with three runs to force the game into extras for the second consecutive day. However, GSU walked off WVU in the bottom of the 10th to earn the win and eventual doubleheader sweep.  

In the series finale, freshman left-handed pitcher Ben Hampton, junior right-hander Zach Ottinger and sophomore righty Jacob Watters combined to fire five scoreless innings out of the bullpen, allowing just one hit and recording six strikeouts in the one-run triumph. Hampton got the win in his WVU debut, while Watters earned his first career save.

Bryant is led by second-year coach Ryan Klosterman, who is off to a 6-12 start with the school. The Bulldogs enter the weekend with a 2-1 mark after taking two-of-three games over High Point to begin the year from Feb. 19-21. Bryant finished 4-11 last spring but was picked to finish first in the preseason Northeast Conference poll. The Bulldogs have won eight straight NEC regular-season crowns and nine of the last 10.

Coastal Carolina is led by 27th-year coach Gary Gilmore, who has tallied 976 wins in his time in Conway. Overall, he has 1,229 career victories in 32 seasons as a head coach. The Chanticleers are off a 2-2 start, following four straight games against ranked opponents. After dropping a pair to then-No. 16 Duke, CCU topped No. 16 Wake Forest, 4-1, on Tuesday. CCU was tabbed to finish No. 1 in the Sun Belt East Division. 

Kennesaw State’s Mike Sansing is in his 29th year with the Owls, holding a record of 1,032-619. In all, he has won more than 1,100 games in his 32-year career. KSU, which was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic Sun preseason poll, won three-of-four over Saint Louis to begin the year from Feb. 19-21.

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