Youngsters Take the Hill


During a 9-4 BIg East Conference start, the WVU baseball team has featured a typically bruising offensive attack.   With offense down across the board in college baseball this season because of the taming of the bats, the Mountaineers are still  tops in the conference in runs, homers, hits RBI and total bases.   WVU is second in the league in average, doubles, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.  That’s what those of us who follow the program have come to expect and enjoy;  Mountaineer hitters torturing opposing pitching staffs.

The biggest revelation  this season is the emergence of several young, quality arms on the pitching staff. 

Thursday night, freshman lefty Harrison Musgrave earned his third Big East Conference wins in four starts against league opponents.   Musgrave was in control with his fast ball and his curve has become devastating to left handed-hitters. 

Freshman Ryan Tezak then pitched the final two innings.    The budding closer faced just seven batters in getting the final six outs of the game and record his third save of the season.  Tezak features a splitter he says he’s been perfecting since he was 15 years old.   

The best arm on the staff may be possessed by redshirt freshman lefthander Marshall Thompson.   Thompson missed his final high school season and all of last year because of shoulder problems.   But Thompson was moved to the front of WVU’s weekend conference rotation after starting his career 3-0.    He struck out ten in his first league start, a win over Georgetown.   Thompson is scheduled to start game two of the Seton Hall series Friday night or Saturday if there is rain.

Add to the mix young, hard throwing relievers Josh Harlow from Shinnston and Corey Water from Wheeling Park High School and it can be stated accurately that five of the top six or seven arms on the team belong to freshman.   Harlow has been especially effective with 11 strikeouts in ten relief innings so far. 

The future certainly looks bright for veteran coach Greg Van Zant who enjoyed his 500th career victory Thursday night as the Mountaineers beat Seton Hall 6-3.   It is, without a doubt, the best collection of young arms Van Zant and his staff  have accumulated during his 17 years as head coach. 


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