NCAA Tournament Preview: WVU set to play in Winston-Salem Region - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

NCAA Tournament Preview: WVU set to play in Winston-Salem Regional

Posted:

By Ryan Decker

WINSTON-SALEM, NC – For the first time since 1996, the West Virginia baseball team (34-24) is playing in the NCAA Tournament.

The Mountaineers first appearance in the postseason in over two decades places them in the region hosted by the team (Wake Forrest) that WVU matched up with the first time it made the tournament back in 1955.

Before this year’s squad can face the Demon Deacons, it must go through a familiar foe – Maryland (37-21) – on Friday.

“We’re happy to be here, but you guys have no idea how happy we are to be here,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said Thursday. “This is the first at-large bid in 125 years of West Virginia Baseball and it is super exciting for our kids right now to be in the NCAA postseason.”

Ivan Gonzalez and Kyle Davis, two of the four Mountaineer hitters with a batting average above .300, lead West Virginia at the plate. 
Senior Jackson Cramer leads the team in home runs (10), and trials Darius Hill in runs batted in by one for the team lead. 
Braden Zarbnisky paces the Mountaineers with wins (6) and saves (6) on the mound, as well as owning a .329 batting average (though he does not qualify for statistical leadership.)

The Winston-Salem Regional includes host No. 14 Wake Forest (39-18), West Virginia, Maryland, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (23-23). Below is a preview of each of the other teams in the Regional.

Maryland

The Terrapins defeated West Virginia in the teams’ only previous meeting this season, a 7-6 comeback win for John Szefc’s club.

Maryland trailed 5-2 late in the game, before scoring five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning off of WVU senior reliever Jackson Sigman.

Sigman talked about that game on Monday.

“You can’t forget something like that,” Sigman said. “That was probably one of the worst games I’ve ever pitched in my life. When I saw Maryland pop up, the first thing I thought was, this is my chance to make it right.”

Freshman Alek Manoah made the start that day for West Virginia, giving up just two runs on three hits, while striking out six, in just his second career start.

Madison Nickens drove in four runs to lead the way for Maryland.

Nickens suffered offensively for much of the season, unlike Jack Jancarski, who went 2-for-5 against the Mountaineers in April, and finished the season with a .317 batting average.

Jancarski is one of four Maryland hitters that enter the NCAA tournament with an average above .300.

The Terps are led at the plate, average-wise, by Brandon Gum (.330).

It is Marty Costes that is Maryland’s most dangerous hitter.

He has clubbed 11 home runs as part of his team-leading 23 extra-base hits. Costes’ 75 hits leads MD hitters, and he’s tied for the team lead in triples (3), home runs (11), walks (31) and RBI (42).

Offensively, what Maryland can do very well is steal bases – the Terrapins have swiped 101 bases this year, and have been successful at doing so 82-percent of the time.

Brian Shaffer (7-3, 2.18 ERA) is the ace of the Maryland pitching staff. The junior right-hander owns a 102:18 strikeout-to-walk ratio, part of what made him a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award, given out annually to the best amateur baseball player in the country.

Wake Forest

The No. 14 team in the nation hosts this Regional, the first time since 2002 Wake Forest has played host.

“Going into the season our goal was to host a regional, and we didn’t really have any doubts about that,” sophomore infielder Johnny Aiello said. “We knew we had the talent, and fortunately it came together, so it’s not really a surprise where we’re at now.”

The Demon Deacons are battle-tested this year, playing 16 games against ranked teams, going 8-8.

Head coach Tom Walker has put together a hitting attack that is extremely potent.

Six Demon Deacon players own batting averages over the .300 mark, and four are hitting at a .340 clip or better.

Not only can they hit for average, but they hit for power, too.

Wake Forest, led by Gavin Sheets, has put 96 baseballs over the fence in 2017, more than double the Mountaineer long ball total.

Sheets’ 20 home runs and 79 RBI lead Wake Forest hitters, and are tops in all of the ACC.

Stuart Fairchild is second on the team in extra-base hits (31) and RBI (59), and is also a threat on the base paths, having stolen 17 bases this year.

WFU has a pair of pitchers with at least seven wins, but as a whole, statistically, the Demon Deacon pitching staff is comparable to West Virginia’s.

Connor Johnstone (7-0, 3.46 ERA) has been the team’s best pitcher this season, tossing a pair of complete games and holding opposing hitters to just a .239 average. Johnstone is scheduled to start Friday evening against UMBC.

Not too far behind is fellow starter Parker Dunshee (9-1, 4.16), whose nearly one hundred strikeouts is part of an impressive 3.77:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Griffin Roberts is the team’s closer, posting eight saves in 46.2 innings pitched; the most of any pitcher on the WFU staff to not make a start.

UMBC

The American East Conference champs have had an exciting road to Winston-Salem. The Retrievers earned an automatic qualifier spot to the “big dance”, winning the AEC tournament championship game in walk-off fashion in the 10th inning.

Andrew Casali and Hunter Dolshun are UMBC’s top hitters, with Dulshun leading the team in average (.333) and home runs (9).

The Retrievers aren’t a strong pitching team, collectively having a team ERA of 5.63 – over 1 ½ runs higher than West Virginia’s.

Miles Austin (4-2, 4.21 ERA) gets the start on the mound Friday at 7 p.m. against Wake Forest. Austin leads the Retrievers in multiple pitching categories, including ERA and innings pitched.

“He’s done a great job and he’s having a great year on the mound,” UMBC head coach Bob Mumma said about Austin. “Our pitchers have done a really good job the last three or four games. (Austin)’s got to do a really good job against a talented Wake Forest team.”

Two-seeded WVU faces the third seed, Maryland, Friday at 2 p.m. Wake Forest and UMBC then play a 7 p.m. later that day.

It is a double-elimination tournament with the winner advancing to the Super Regional round. Regional play can last through Monday if necessary.

All of WVU's games at the Regional tournament in Winston-Salem can be heard on 91.7 FM or on u92.wvu.edu

  • More SportsMore>>

  • Tough Match Halts No. 7 WVU's Run

    Tough Match Halts No. 7 WVU's Run

    Sunday, November 19 2017 8:43 PM EST2017-11-20 01:43:27 GMT
    Grace Cutler and Carla Portillo share a hug after WVU's Sweet 16 loss to Penn St.Grace Cutler and Carla Portillo share a hug after WVU's Sweet 16 loss to Penn St.

    The No. 7-ranked and second-seeded WVU women's soccer team came up short this evening its quest for a third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

    The No. 7-ranked and second-seeded WVU women's soccer team came up short this evening its quest for a third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

  • No. 7 Mountaineers Move On

    No. 7 Mountaineers Move On

    Saturday, November 18 2017 8:23 AM EST2017-11-18 13:23:09 GMT
    Rylee Foster and Nikki Izzo-Brown celebrate WVU's win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.Rylee Foster and Nikki Izzo-Brown celebrate WVU's win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

    The No. 7 West Virginia University women's soccer team is moving on to the Sweet 16.

    The No. 7 West Virginia University women's soccer team is moving on to the Sweet 16.

  • 2018 Baseball Schedule Unveiled

    2018 Baseball Schedule Unveiled

    Thursday, November 16 2017 4:31 PM EST2017-11-16 21:31:39 GMT
    The WVU baseball team stands for the national anthem before a 4-2 win over Penn State at PNC Park. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)The WVU baseball team stands for the national anthem before a 4-2 win over Penn State at PNC Park. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    Highlighted by 23 home games and 21 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2017, West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons has announced the 2018 baseball schedule.

    Highlighted by 23 home games and 21 games against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2017, West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons has announced the 2018 baseball schedule.

  • FootballFootballMore>>

  • WVU Football Coach Holgorsen Talks Oklahoma

    WVU Football Coach Holgorsen Talks Oklahoma

    Dana Holgorsen circles the team huddle in the second half of a WVU win at Kansas. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)Dana Holgorsen circles the team huddle in the second half of a WVU win at Kansas. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)
    Watch West Virginia Football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen address the media regarding the Mountaineers' match-up with Oklahoma.
    Watch West Virginia Football Head Coach Dana Holgorsen address the media regarding the Mountaineers' match-up with Oklahoma.
  • WVU Football OC Spavital and Players Talk Oklahoma Match-Up

    WVU Football OC Spavital and Players Talk Oklahoma Match-Up

    Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Football Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital and his Players, as they talk about their game, on the road, against Oklahoma.

    Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Football Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital and his Players, as they talk about their game, on the road, against Oklahoma.

  • Sills V Named Biletnikoff Award Finalist

    Monday, November 20 2017 5:54 PM EST2017-11-20 22:54:06 GMT
    David Sills has been named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. (PHOTO: Scott Lituchy)David Sills has been named a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award. (PHOTO: Scott Lituchy)

     David Sills V was named one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award.

     David Sills V was named one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Best Pokemon Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals of 2017 Revealed by Deal Tomato

    Best Pokemon Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals of 2017 Revealed by Deal Tomato

    Deal Tomato have researched the best Pokemon Black Friday deals available for 2017. Hereâ??s their top choices: 100 Assorted Pokemon Trading Cards on sale â?? Amazon (Prime delivery) Nintendo 3DS â?? Pokemon 20th...
    Deal Tomato have researched the best Pokemon Black Friday deals available for 2017. Hereâ??s their top choices: 100 Assorted Pokemon Trading Cards on sale â?? Amazon (Prime delivery) Nintendo 3DS â?? Pokemon 20th...
  • 2017-18 WVU Men’s Basketball Schedule

    2017-18 WVU Men’s Basketball Schedule

    Bob Huggins looks on as the Mountaineers practice at the SAP Center in San Jose. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)Bob Huggins looks on as the Mountaineers practice at the SAP Center in San Jose. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 31, 2017) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. 

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (August 31, 2017) – West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons and the Big 12 Conference have announced the 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule. 

  • Successful Surgery for Grier, Mayfield Not Starting Against WVU

    Monday, November 20 2017 2:55 PM EST2017-11-20 19:55:53 GMT
    Will Grier heads to the locker room after disloacting his finger on Saturday. (PHOTO: Scott Lituchy)Will Grier heads to the locker room after disloacting his finger on Saturday. (PHOTO: Scott Lituchy)

    Grier will be out 4-6 weeks after a successful surgery on Sunday. It was also announced that Baker Mayfield won't be the starting quarterback on Saturday against WVU as disciplinary action.

    Grier will be out 4-6 weeks after a successful surgery on Sunday. It was also announced that Baker Mayfield won't be the starting quarterback on Saturday against WVU as disciplinary action.

  • UPDATED WITH STATEMENT: Murray Energy to cut off benefits for 1,200 Consol retirees

    UPDATED WITH STATEMENT: Murray Energy to cut off benefits for 1,200 Consol retirees

    Wednesday, April 30 2014 8:37 AM EDT2014-04-30 12:37:04 GMT
    St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray Energy has confirmed it will terminate health benefits of nearly 1,200 Consol Energy retirees who worked in mines Murray purchased one year ago.
    St. Clairsville, Ohio-based Murray Energy has confirmed it will terminate health benefits of nearly 1,200 Consol Energy retirees who worked in mines Murray purchased one year ago.
  • West, Konate Pace Monday Night's Rout

    West, Konate Pace Monday Night's Rout

    Bob Huggins looks on during the final moments of a win over Baylor in Waco. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)Bob Huggins looks on during the final moments of a win over Baylor in Waco. (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

     Lamont West scored 22 points and sophomore center Sagaba Konate contributed a career-high 20 to lead 23rd-ranked West Virginia to a 91-62 victory over Long Beach State here tonight at the WVU Coliseum.  

     Lamont West scored 22 points and sophomore center Sagaba Konate contributed a career-high 20 to lead 23rd-ranked West Virginia to a 91-62 victory over Long Beach State here tonight at the WVU Coliseum.  

  • WVU Football OC Spavital and Players Talk Oklahoma Match-Up

    WVU Football OC Spavital and Players Talk Oklahoma Match-Up

    Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Football Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital and his Players, as they talk about their game, on the road, against Oklahoma.

    Watch full video interviews with West Virginia Football Offensive Coordinator Jake Spavital and his Players, as they talk about their game, on the road, against Oklahoma.

  • Report: West Virginia Ranks 10th for Most Violent States on Black Friday

    Report: West Virginia Ranks 10th for Most Violent States on Black Friday

    Wednesday, November 22 2017 7:57 PM EST2017-11-23 00:57:56 GMT
    djLicious / Flickr / CC BY 2.0djLicious / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
    WEST VIRGINIA (WOWK) - All across the United States, Black Friday gives people a chance to score great deals on Christmas and holiday gifts and capture their dream electronics. But sometimes those rock-bottom savings turn into a dangerous siren song, and people go too far in their quest for a cheap TV or Hatchimals for their kid. The Mountain State has received a high violence ranking when it comes to Black Friday. According to Reviews, West Virginia ranks tenth in the U.S.&nb...
    WEST VIRGINIA (WOWK) - All across the United States, Black Friday gives people a chance to score great deals on Christmas and holiday gifts and capture their dream electronics. But sometimes those rock-bottom savings turn into a dangerous siren song, and people go too far in their quest for a cheap TV or Hatchimals for their kid. The Mountain State has received a high violence ranking when it comes to Black Friday. According to Reviews, West Virginia ranks tenth in the U.S.&nb...
  • WVi Has Moved!

    WVi Has Moved!

    Friday, September 2 2011 1:45 PM EDT2011-09-02 17:45:05 GMT
    Don't worry, wvillustrated.com is still alive and well. WVi has upgraded to a brand new and improved website. Please check out http://www.wvillustrated.com/ We hope you enjoy the new WVi experience.