Editor’s note: This is the third article in a series previewing the 2014 Big 12 baseball season and what each of the league’s nine teams brings to the diamond this season.
7. West Virginia Mountaineers
2013 season record: 33-26; 13-11 in the Big 12, ties for third place
With a new $16 milion baseball stadium under construction (scheduled to be ready for the 2015 season), the future of West Virginia baseball looks bright, and the current season is no exception. The Mountaineers return five position players who saw quite a bit of playing time in 2013, West Virginia’s first as a member of the Big 12 Conference.
The Mountaineers ended their inaugural Big 12 season tied with Oklahoma for third place in the conference standings. One of the returning starters is the team’s best hitter last season, senior outfielder Jacob Rice. Rice led the team iun batting average (.333) and hits (73) a year ago and drove in 30 runs.
Joining Rice in West Virginia’s starting lineup in 2014 is fellow .300 hitter and outfielder Bobby Boyd and power-hitter Ryan McBroom, who belted 12 home runs and drove in a team-high 48 runs last season.
West Virginia has one of the Big 12′s best starting pitchers in junior left-hander Harrison Musgrave, the Big 12 Pitcher of the Year last season. Musgrave posted a 9-1 record in 14 starts and an ERA of 2.17 in 99.1 innings, with 81 strikeouts. Musgrave is a preseason All-America candidate and is on the preseason watch list for the prized Golden Spikes Award, which honors the best amateur baseball player in America.
Musgrave is joined in the starting rotation by two other returning hurlers: left-hander John Means and right-hander Carey Walker, who had a combined nine wins as starters a year ago.
West Virginia is off to a slow start in 2014, winning just one of three games in its season-opening weekend playing in the Citadel Tournament in Charleston, S.C.
Next up: No. 6 Baylor