Mountaineer baseball squad ranked in top 25

MORGANTOWN — For the first time this season, the West Virginia University baseball team is in the national rankings, appearing in five top-25 polls.

The Mountaineers are as high as No. 20 in this week’s D1Baseball poll. WVU is No. 23 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) rankings, No. 24 in the Coaches Poll and in the Perfect Game top-25 and No. 25 in the latest Baseball America poll.

West Virginia’s No. 20 ranking is its highest since 1982, when the Mountaineers finished the 1982 season No. 16 in the final Collegiate Baseball Newspaper poll. WVU is ranked for the first time since it appeared at No. 22 in the 2018 D1Baseball preseason poll, while the regular-season ranking is the first since the team was in the top-25 in back-to-back weeks in April 2017.

The Mountaineers’ appearance in this week’s polls is the fourth time they have been ranked since 1982, with all four appearances, twice in 2017 and once in 2018, coming under seventh-year coach Randy Mazey.

WVU is one of five Big 12 Conference teams ranked in at least one national poll this week.

Statistically, West Virginia’s pitching staff is No. 7 nationally with 6.87 hits allowed per nine innings, No. 16 with a 3.26 ERA, No. 17 with 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings and No. 27 with a 1.26 WHIP. The Mountaineers also rank No. 18 in the NCAA with 72 stolen bases on the season.

Individually, junior right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah is No. 10 in the country with 80 strikeouts and No. 24 with a 0.87 WHIP, while he also leads the Big 12 with 11.87 strikeouts per nine innings and is second in the league with 5.64 hits allowed per nine innings.

Junior center fielder Brandon White is No. 24 in the NCAA with 0.61 stolen bases per game and senior right fielder Darius Hill is No. 30 with 14 doubles.

Up next, the Mountaineers travel to Penn State before a weekend series against Kansas from April 19-21. WVU and PSU meet on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in State College, Pennsylvania.

West Virginia then continues Big 12 play against Kansas at Monongalia County Ballpark, beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. The series continues on Saturday, at 4 p.m., before the finale on Sunday, at 1 p.m.

— Charlie Healy, wvusports.com