Big East

Winning Streak Meets No. 5 Texas Tech

May 18, 2016

LUBBOCK, Texas – The West Virginia University baseball team and its 10-game winning streak travel to No. 5 Texas Tech for the final series of the regular season in Lubbock, Texas, from May 19-21.

The Mountaineers (32-19, 11-9 Big 12 Conference) enter the weekend on a 10-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the country and WVU’s longest since an 11-game streak in 2008. West Virginia has posted back-to-back series sweeps, first against Texas and then last weekend in the home finale vs. William & Mary. WVU is coming off a 10-4 Backyard Brawl victory at Pitt on Tuesday.

The Red Raiders (38-13, 17-14 Big 12) have clinched the regular-season Big 12 title. Its fifth conference crown in program history, it is Texas Tech’s first league championship since winning the Big 12 Tournament in 1998. TTU has taken the last eight days off, following a sweep at Kansas and a midweek victory at Abilene Christian.

On the mound for West Virginia, freshman right-hander Michael Grove (2-3, 2.63) will start Thursday’s series opener. Junior righty Chad Donato (3-3, 3.34) will get the ball on Friday, while Saturday’s starter is to be determined.

A trio of freshmen will start for Texas Tech. Righty Davis Martin will start on Thursday, while Donato will face left-hander Steven Gingery. Right-hander Ty Harpenau will throw in Saturday’s series finale.

FOLLOWING ALONG

For fans unable to cheer on the Mountaineers in person in Lubbock, Texas, there are several ways to tune in live. Thursday and Friday’s games will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest, while Saturday’s contest will air on Fox Sports Southwest Plus. All three games can also be viewed on the Fox Sports Go app. Robert Giovannetti and Mike Gustafson will have the call.

On the radio, Jeff Culhane will call the action on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on various affiliates throughout the state. The radio broadcast can also be found online at WVUsports.com or on the TuneIn Radio App and the Mountaineer Gameday App.
Live stats can be found at TexasTech.com. Additional updates and notes from Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park can be found on social media by following and connecting with the team at @WVUBaseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

SCOUTING TEXAS TECH

The 2016 Big 12 Conference regular-season champions, No. 5 Texas Tech enters the final weekend of the regular season with a 38-13 record and a 17-4 mark in conference action. The Red Raiders have had the last nine days off after a sweep at Kansas and a midweek win at Abilene Christian.

TTU swept the Jayhawks with a 10-3 win in the opener, followed by a 9-2 victory to win the series. A 6-3 win in the finale secured the Red Raiders’ fourth Big 12 sweep of the year.

Texas Tech has won six of its seven Big 12 series played and is a perfect 7-0 in series-openers in league play.

The Red Raiders are coached by Tim Tadlock, in his fourth season at his alma mater. The 2014 College Baseball Hall of Fame National Coach of the Year, he took TTU to the College World Series in 2014. Tadlock came to Lubbock after nine seasons at Grayson County College, where he amassed a record of 435-127. He is 140-89 at Texas Tech.

HISTORY VS. THE RED RAIDERS

West Virginia is 4-5 all-time against Texas Tech. All nine meetings have occurred since 2013, when the Mountaineers joined the Big 12. WVU posted series victories against TTU at home in both 2013 and 2015. In the Mountaineers’ last visit to Lubbock, Texas, was in 2014, when WVU was swept.

The series began in 2013 in Charleston, West Virginia. In their first ever Big 12 home series, the Mountaineers won the opener, 2-0, before a doubleheader split the following day. After WVU rallied with four eight-inning runs, Tech won the first game in 10 innings, 6-4. West Virginia answered with a 3-1 win in the nightcap to secure its first Big 12 series win.

In 2014 in Lubbock, it took extra innings in the opener after WVU tied the game in the ninth inning, but TTU scored the winning run in the 11th inning for a 4-3 victory. In the series’ second game, Ross Vance pitched a complete game and allowed just three runs on nine hits, but Tech walked off with a 3-2 win. The Mountaineers dropped the series finale, 4-0.
A year ago at Monongalia County Ballpark, WVU took two out of three from TTU. It began with a 6-4 victory thanks to six runs in the first three innings for the Mountaineers. In 7.0 innings, Chad Donato earned the win and Conner Dotson picked up his first career save with 2.0 shutout relief innings. Kyle Davis had three hits and two RBIs to lead the offense. West Virginia clinched the series win with an 8-2 victory the following day. Ross Vance allowed one run in 7.1 innings on four hits with four strikeouts as Blake Smith earned the save. Jackson Cramer and KC Huth had two hits apiece. WVU dropped an 8-2 decision in the series finale.

ON DECK: BIG 12 CHAMPIONSHIP

Postseason competition begins for the Mountaineers at the 2016 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship on May 25. The annual conference tournament returns to Oklahoma City and Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark from May 25-29. Seeds for the championship will be announced following the conclusion of the regular season, and more information can be found at Big12Sports.com.

LAST TIME OUT: BACKYARD BRAWL WIN

The Mountaineers’ winning streak reached a nation-best 10 games with a 10-4 win at Pitt on Tuesday. West Virginia won the 192nd edition of the rivalry to improve to 104-88 all-time against the Panthers.

It was a mix of power and small ball that propelled West Virginia. Sophomore left fielder Kyle Davis and junior Ray Guerrini each hit home runs for two of the Mountaineers’ seven extra-base hits. WVU added six bunt singles, including three perfectly-executed safety squeezes.
Five Mountaineers had multiple hits, including four-hit days from freshmen Ivan Vera and Jimmy Galusky. Fellow freshman Kyle Gray had two hits and three RBIs, while junior Jackson Cramer and Guerrini each had two hits and two RBIs.
Senior left-hander Ross Vance pitched 3.2 strong innings in relief to earn his sixth win of the season. Vance allowed just one hit with four strikeouts and four walks. It was his first relief appearance of the season and second in as many years.

STRIKING OUT THE RECORD BOOKS

West Virginia pitchers have struck out 454 batters in 2016, the most in program history. WVU is led by junior Chad Donato, who has an even 100 on the season.

The 454 strikeouts is the most in a single season, easily eclipsing the mark of 416 set in 2001. WVU leads the Big 12 with 454 strikeouts and is No. 18 nationally averaging 8.9 strikeouts per inning.

Donato has struck out a career-best 100 batters in 2016, the ninth time in team history a Mountaineer has reached the century mark. He is 11 strikeouts shy of cracking the top five and he needs 23 to catch the WVU record-holder, John Radosevich, who set the mark of 123 in 1964.

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