The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

April 29, 2014

WVU, MU meet tonight in Charleston

After dropping two of three games to its Mountain State rival last season — Marshall sandwiched wins in Charleston and Beckley around a loss in Morgantown — West Virginia’s baseball club will be looking for a little revenge tonight at 6 p.m. at Charleston’s Appalachian Power Park. Following a 10-3 win over the Herd a week ago at Hawley Field in Morgantown, WVU looks to complete a sweep of this year’s two-game series with a victory at the home field of the West Virginia Power.

For WVU, it’s a chance to continue a run that includes wins in eight of its last 10 games, including six in a row. The Mountaineers (24-16) currently have a No. 27 RPI rating and are looking to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996.

“We talk about RPI all the time, because you can’t ignore it,” second-year head coach Randy Mazey told the MetroNews Statewide Sportsline Monday night. “But we try not to get caught up in the big picture. We worry about what we’re going to do on the first pitch of the next game.”

While a win over MU, No. 189 in the RPI, won’t do much to boost WVU’s rating, a loss could be devastating.

For Marshall (18-24), tonight’s game is a chance to get back on track after losing seven of the last 10 and four straight. The Herd’s last win over a Division I team came April 13 at Conference USA foe Texas-San Antonio.

WVU will send junior right-hander Michael Bennett (2-3, 5.54 ERA) to the mound tonight. Marshall, which had a scheduled meeting with Eastern Kentucky Tuesday canceled because of weather, hasn’t named a starter.

At the plate, WVU is led by junior center fielder Bobby Boyd, who’s tops on the team with a .379 average that includes eight doubles, two triples a home run and 20 RBIs. Ryan McBroom is hitting .348 with seven homers and 40 RBIs.

“We’re swinging the bats pretty well right now,” said Mazey. “That’s why we picked this game up on Wednesday (the original date in March was rained out) to keep our hitters in line heading into a big weekend (with a three-game Big 12 homestand against Texas).”

Marshall’s lumber company is led by outfielder Cory Garrastazu, who’s hitting .321 with three doubles and six RBIs. First baseman T.J. Diffenderfer is hitting .244 with six doubles and two triples. He’s driven in 20 runs.

WVU leads the all-time series between the rivals 40-23 and has won 16 of the last 19 meetings.

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