Grove Unable To Pitch

WVU pitcher is still day-to-day

MORGANTOWN — Ohio Valley baseball fans looking to see one of their favorite sons — Michael Grove — will have to wait a little longer for the sophomore to take the mound for the Mountaineers baseball team as the Wheeling Park graduate is still listed as day-to-day by veteran skipper Randy Mazey.

“No chance,” Mazey explained following Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory over Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl. “There is no chance that we will pitch him this weekend. He’s making good process, throwing farther and farther every day, but we’re not going to take any chances.”

Grove, who injured the elbow on his pitching arm after facing three batters at Kansas State, leads the team in strikeouts (61) and innings pitched (47) despite being on the DL since April 22. The right hander was in the mist of putting together a stellar second season for the Mountaineers — 2.87 earned run average and 3-1 record — when Mazey saw his No. 2 starter go down. WVU had already lost No. 3 starter Conner Dotson with a season-ending injury while warming up to face Oklahoma State.

“People have no idea what we’ve gone through this year,” Mazey said. “But, despite those injuries the team has continued to improve and different pitchers have stepped up and got the job done.”

One of those is freshman righty Isaiah Kearns, who hurled 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball in WVU’s 2-0 victory over the Panthers. Another has been senior Jackson Sigman, who pitched no-hit ball the remainder of the game to pick up his fourth win of the campaign.

“Tonight was a big moment for him (Kearns),” Mazey said. “Especially, since he was recruited by both schools.

“It was also a big moment for Jackson (Sigman) since it was probably the last time he will pitch in this park.”

While it is certain Grove will not see action against the Longhorns in the Mountaineers’ final weekend series of the regular season, Mazey would not rule out using the former Patriot when WVU enters Big 12 Tournament play on Wednesday at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.

“(Grove) is so valuable to our program,” Mazey said. “But, he has a real chance to pitch next season and maybe beyond and we are not going to do anything that might hurt that. We’re simply not going to play him until he’s ready.”

In his place the Mountaineers will probably go with freshmen Sam Kessler (2.67 ERA, 1-2) and Alek Manoah (2.70 ERA, 1-1) against Texas with junior BJ Myers (3.90 ERA, 4-2) toeing the rubber in Game 1 of the series.

In other news surrounding the Mountaineers:

∫ Reports have surfaced that redshirt junior William Crest Jr. has elected to return to the Mountaineer football team. The Baltimore native missed spring drills while considering transferring to another program, but had now elected to return to Morgantown.