Texas played some truly uninspiring baseball on Tuesday night in beating a badly over-matched Prairie View A&M 6-3. The Horns were outhit and scored their first five runs with the benefit of two hits and a crap load of walks. It's hard to read much into these midweek games, so no sense brooding over an ugly win that wasn't really as close as the final score might indicate.
On to West Virginia. The Mountaineers enter this series red hot, winners of six straight and eight of their last nine games including a series win in Norman and a home sweep of Kansas State. WVU has surprisingly played themselves onto the NCAA Tournament bubble with an ISR of of 36 (SoS 26) and a .500 conference record in what has turned out to be a tough Big 12.
Though they can't match Okie St or TCU's starting pitching staff, the Mountaineers boast three good starters in Harrison Musgrave, Sean Carley and John Means. Only Musgrave appears to be a truly bad matchup as he avoids walks and strikes out nearly a hitter per inning. If Texas can get to the WVU bullpen, however, they can do some damage. Statistically speaking, WVU's best reliever would rank sixth in the Texas bullpen. WVU's starters walk one batter every 4.4 innings while their relievers walk one every 1.9 innings.
WVU can certainly hit the ball, boasting six hitters with batting averages above .280 (though it's always tough to say what's a good offense and what's a small ballpark). The Mountaineers do boast Bobby Boyd, a 5'9" 170 lbs outfielders whose .379 batting average leads the conference. Boyd also boasts 15 stolen bases in only 17 attempts though he has curiously only drawn 9 walks all season. The awesomely named Ryan McBroom comes in with a .348 batting average and an team leading seven home runs and 40 RBI. Keeping those two off the bases will be critical for Texas.
Last week I wrote about how Texas has struggled offensively at home and how it might be preferable to avoid hosting a super regional. Fortunately Texas took care of that problem against Oklahoma State. Texas has a really strong RPI due to the strength of their schedule. If the Horns can beat WVU and KSU on the road then Texas should still be a regional host. Accomplish that and it'll be hard to call whatever happens in the postseason a disappointment.
First pitch is at 5 PM tonight. Television hasn't yet made it to West Virginia, so this'll be your open thread.