OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Third-seeded West Virginia will open the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday against No. 6 seed Kansas, the only team the Mountaineers swept during the conference schedule.
WVU (31-25, 13-11) will face the Jayhawks (31-22, 12-12) at 5 p.m. Eastern. It’s a rematch of their tightly contested series from April 26-27 in Beckley, during which West Virginia won three games 1-0, 4-3 and 3-2 — the finale in 12 innings.
Harrison Musgrave (8-1) projects to start Wednesday’s opener for WVU, and he’ll be pitching on 10 days’ rest after sitting out the final regular-season series at Oklahoma State. The sophomore left-hander shut out Kansas on four hits on April 26.
The double-elimination tournament is scheduled to run through Sunday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
“Hopefully Musgrave will get us a win in the first game and we’ll stay in the winners’ bracket from there on out,” said WVU reliever Ryan Tezak, the winning pitcher in Saturday’s 5-4 season-ender at Oklahoma State.
That victory in Stillwater stopped a five-game skid and provided the Mountaineers with a pick-me-up during their three off days in Oklahoma.
“That five-game losing streak is behind us, so all we’ll think about now is the fact we won the last one,” Tezak said.
The other Big 12 tournament opening-day matchups include:
No. 5 Baylor (27-25, 12-11) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (36-19, 13-11), 10 a.m. Eastern
No. 8 Texas Tech (25-28, 9-15) vs. No. 1 Kansas State (39-16, 16-8), 1:30 p.m. Eastern
No. 7 TCU (28-26, 12-12) vs. No. 2 Oklahoma State (39-14, 13-10), 8:30 p.m. Eastern
West Virginia won the tiebreaker over Oklahoma for the No. 3 seed based on taking two of three from the Sooners in a series May 3-5.
The tournament’s format features two four-team divisions, the winners of which will play Sunday in a single-game championship. (View the bracket here.) A team that wins the tourney undefeated would play only four games in four days, while a team coming through the losers’ bracket would have to play six games, putting quite a strain on its pitching staff.
All games leading up to the final will air on FOX College Sports, with FOX Sports Network televising the championship.
In West Virginia, radio coverage of WVU’s games can be heard on affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network.
In Sunday’s updated dose of baseball bracketology, SEBaseball.com’s Mark Etheridge projected only three Big 12 teams making the NCAA field. He shows regular-season champ Kansas State hosting a regional in Manhattan, with Oklahoma State as a No. 2 seed in Bloomington, Ind., and Oklahoma as a No. 3 seed in Eugene, Ore.
West Virginia and Kansas, both of whom were among Etheridge’s final five at-large picks two weeks ago, now aren’t even listed among “his first 10 out,” meaning both likely need to win the tournament to qualify.