By Cody Shook, Sports Editor
This weekend, the baseball team will play a unique Saturday/Sunday series against two different teams in two different locations. Saturday, they will be away taking on the University of Charleston. Game one is set to start at 3 p.m., and game two is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.
After the double header against Charleston, the teammates will pack their bags and head to Institute, W. Va. to take on the Yellow Jackets of West Virginia State University on Sunday for a scheduled 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. start time.
Coming into the weekend, the Hilltoppers are 12-6 overall and 7-1 in conference games after sweeping Glenville State, West Virginia Wesleyan, UVA-Wise and splitting with Concord this past weekend. West Liberty is currently on top of the north division of the Mountain East Conference standings with Shepherd also at 7-1 in conference games, but since they have a worse overall record, they are technically in second place.
Charleston comes into the game with a 15-7 overall record and a 4-4 record in conference games. This past weekend, they swept Notre Dame of Ohio and split with Urbana University. Last season, Charleston finished with a record of 16-34, so they are already a completely different team from last year. The Golden Eagles are currently in fourth place in the south division of the MEC, but they opened up their conference schedule with two top-notch programs in Shepherd and Fairmont State University.
In Saturday’s games against Charleston, there’s more on the line than just two conference games; the Hilltoppers haven’t lost to the Golden Eagles since the 2013 season. The seniors that will step onto the field this Friday have never lost to Charleston, so they will leave it all out on the field to make sure they come away with two wins and keep the 13-game winning streak alive.
The Yellow Jackets are stumbling through their schedule so far as they have an 8-11 overall record and they are 1-5 in conference play, which is very unlike the normal West Virginia State program.
This weekend will be the last weekend of conference play against teams from the other division. After this weekend, the Hilltoppers will travel to play against Notre Dame of Ohio.
The 2017 Hilltoppers are at the top or near the top in numerous statistical categories, such as batting average, earned run average and fielding percentage. The Hilltoppers as a team have a .336 batting average, the best in the conference, and they have an earned run average of 4.37, which is second to West Virginia State’s 3.89. The Hilltoppers are also on top of the conference with a .969 fielding percentage.
Last season, the Hilltoppers started conference play with an 8-3 record through their first 11 games, so this season the Hilltoppers will try to surpass that record and really start to show people that they are a top team in 2017.
To follow the baseball team all season long, be sure to follow them on Twitter for game updates and all things Toppers baseball. For more information on the baseball team, log onto hilltoppersports.com. Also, be sure to grab next week’s issue of the Trumpet for more game previews and player profiles.
Photo credit: hilltoppersports.com.