Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

College Sports

May 18, 2014

Big task looms for WVU baseball in Big 12 tourney

Virginia seeded third in ACC tournament

PRINCETON — The last time the West Virginia University baseball team walked off the diamond as winners, the Mountaineers were at Hunnicutt Field in Princeton almost two weeks ago, on May 6.

Since their 4-3 victory over Virginia Tech in front of thousands of fans, West Virginia (27-23, 9-13 Big 12) has lost seven straight games — not the way a team wants to go into this week’s Big 12 Conference baseball tournament.

Kansas (33-21, 15-9 Big 12) will be WVU’s opponent in the first game of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Okla. at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

The Jayhawks began the Mountaineers’ current losing streak with a sweep in Lawrence, Kan., on May 9-11 by scores of 5-3, 5-2 and 9-8. WVU lost to Maryland on May 13 and dropped all three games at Texas Tech late last week, capped by a 4-0 loss on Saturday.

The Mountaineers wound up with the tournament’s sixth seed, while Kansas is the No. 3 seed.

It is the second consecutive year that Kansas and WVU have met on opening day of the league tourney. Kansas won 7-2 last May.

Oklahoma State (41-13, 18-5 Big 12) won the regular-season conference crown and enters the tournament as the No. 1 seed.

The double elimination tournament is scheduled to conclude this Sunday. The finale will be aired on Fox Sports 1 at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.

The Virginia Cavaliers, the top-ranked NCAA Division I baseball team in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and by Baseball America, will start the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament from a third-seeded position on Thursday at NewBridge Bank Park in Greensboro, N.C.

Although the Cavaliers were 43-11 overall in the regular season, Virginia finished second in the ACC Coastal Division to Miami (40-15) by virtue of the schools’ conference records. Miami was 24-6 in-conference while UVa posted a 22-8 mark.

Florida State (41-14, 21-9 ACC), the Atlantic Division champion, took the No. 2 tournament seed.

Virginia will play No. 6 seed Maryland at 11 a.m. Thursday. On Friday evening, the Cavaliers will play the winner of a play-in game between North Carolina and N.C. State. UVa will wrap up Saturday’s triple-header by playing Florida State at about 7 p.m.

The Cavaliers took two of three games at Florida State in the regular season, and won two of three against North Carolina in Charlottesville. UVa did not play Maryland or N.C. State in baseball this season.

The tournament’s pool-play rounds determine two pool champs, who will compete in the ACC championship game scheduled for 1 p.m. this Sunday. It will be televised by ESPN2.

The Cavaliers have won three ACC baseball tournament crowns, in 1996, 2009 and 2011.

Virginia Tech (21-31-1, 9-21) did not qualify for the 10-team ACC tourney, though they finished with an 8-5 win over N.C. State on Saturday in Blacksburg.

Marshall (20-31, 10-19 C-USA) missed the cutoff for the eight-team Conference USA tournament taking place this week in Hattiesburg, Miss.

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