CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The weather may be cold, but West Virginia University's baseball presence in Charleston is just heating up.
The Mountaineers host their inaugural three-game Big 12 home series over the next three days, taking on Texas Tech at Appalachian Power Park. First pitch for tonight's game is scheduled for 6:30, followed by games at 4 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
It will be the first of three Big 12 three-game sets scheduled for Power Park this season, with preseason Big 12 No. 1 Oklahoma due in May 3-5 and No. 2 TCU scheduled for May 10-12.
This weekend's series with Texas Tech (15-8 overall, 2-1 in Big 12 play) comes on the heels of WVU's 8-0 loss to Marshall Tuesday night at the APP.
"Even though we didn't play well, it was good experience for us going into this weekend," said first-year WVU coach Randy Mazey. "It was valuable to get down here and play a game on this field, even though the outcome wasn't in our favor."
It isn't shaping up as an easy weekend for the Mountaineers, who are 8-12 overall and 1-2 in the Big 12 play opening conference play last weekend at Kansas State.
West Virginia scored a 13-2 seven-inning mercy-rule win in the opener a week ago against K-State behind the pitching of Harrison Musgrave, a junior left-hander from Bridgeport who is 2-1 with a 5.16 ERA in five starts, with 17 strikeouts in 292/3 innings. He'll get the ball tonight against Texas Tech.
"He's been giving us a chance to win," Mazey said of Musgrave. "He has all three pitches, and he had all three going at Kansas State, took a shutout into the seventh inning."
The Mountaineers will go with another state product, Wheeling Park's Corey Walter, in Saturday's game. The right-handed junior is 1-2, 5.60 in four starts.
Sophomore lefty John Means, who'll start Sunday's game, has been WVU's most effective hurler to date, going 2-1 with a 1.85 ERA in four starts.
Texas Tech, which opened Big 12 play last weekend by taking two out of three games at home against Texas, will go with sophomore right-hander Dominic Moreno in the series opener tonight. Moreno (2-1, 3.58) pitched seven innings in a combined 1-0 shutout of the Longhorns last Friday.
The Red Raiders will show their ace in Saturday's game, when 6-foot 1, 195-pound junior right-hander Trey Masek takes the mound against the Mountaineers. Masek, rated by Baseball America as the Big 12's No. 2 Major League draft prospect and a former Texas high school player of the year, is 3-0 with a microscopic 0.22 ERA in five starts. His 40 strikeouts in 40 innings are both tops in the conference, and opposing batters are hitting .158 against him.
Sunday's scheduled starter for Texas Tech is freshman righty Matt Withrow (2-1, 5.73).
"Texas Tech has three really good pitchers, probably the best combination of a starting three in the league," Mazey said.