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WVU, Marshall clash today at Appalachian Power Park

By Dave Hickman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia shortstop Taylor Munden turns a double play.

West Virginia and Marshall will attempt to do something today that they’ve not had much luck accomplishing in recent years — play a baseball game against each other in Charleston.

The Mountaineers (24-17, 6-9 Big 12) and the Thundering Herd (15-27, 8-13 Conference USA) are scheduled to play a 6 p.m. game today at Appalachian Power Park. It is the first of two mid-week games for WVU and the only one this week for Marshall.

Last season, the teams saw their game in Charleston rained out. In fact, rainouts or just an inability to find a date to play have meant that West Virginia and Marshall have played just once in Charleston since 1998. That was an 8-0 Marshall win in 2013.

The teams did, however, manage to get a game in a week ago in Morgantown. West Virginia won that one 3-2, and tonight’s game could be similar. The same starting pitchers are scheduled to throw for each team — freshman Shane Ennis (1-2) for WVU and senior Josh King (0-2) for MU.

Despite West Virginia’s win a week ago at the new Monongalia County Ballpark, Marshall is probably the hotter team right now. Last weekend the Herd won its third straight C-USA series, this time taking two of three from league-leading Middle Tennessee.

West Virginia, which has played its last 11 games at home after playing its first 30 on the road while waiting for its new park to be ready, is 3-5 over its last eight games and has dropped two straight Big 12 series.

In the game last week in Morgantown, WVU and Marshall combined for just six hits. West Virginia won because of back-to-back home runs — accounting for half of its four hits — and a bases-loaded walk.

Despite the recent slump, the Mountaineers have found some power lately. In a weekend series against Kansas, sophomore rightfielder Shaun Wood hit home runs in three consecutive at bats, while Jackson Cramer had two home runs and Taylor Munden a game-winner on Sunday.

Junior Aaron Bossi leads Marshall with a .364 batting average, seven doubles, one triple and 10 RBIs. Senior infielder T.J. Diffenderfer is hitting .320 with a team-leading nine doubles, four home runs and 27 RBIs.

Freshman second baseman Kyle Davis continues to lead West Virginia with a .353 batting average, 15 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBIs. Munden leads the team with 10 home runs, while Cramer has eight and Wood has seven. Wood also has a team-leading 30 RBIs.

After tonight’s game, West Virginia will go to Radford, Virginia, to face Radford (28-14, 14-4 Big South) Wednesday, a game scheduled just this week.

After that, it’s back to conference play for both teams. Marshall goes to Southern Mississippi for a three-game series beginning Friday. West Virginia returns to Morgantown for a three-game series against one of the best teams in the country, TCU, which is ranked in the top five of most of the major college baseball polls.

Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or [email protected] or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.

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