Notre Dame (19-17, 4-7) will host West Virginia (22-11, 5-6) this weekend in a crucial Big East Conference series. On Friday, the first pitch is set for 6:05 PM while on Saturday, because of the Blue-Gold football contest starting at 1:30 PM, the baseball game is scheduled for 3:05 PM. The finale is on Sunday at 1:05 PM. The Irish come into the series on a roll, winners of six of seven games. Last weekend, Notre Dame earned their first conference series victory of the season, taking two of three from Georgetown.
The Irish should be feeling good about themselves. Wednesday's win over Purdue was the team's second straight victory in their last at-bat. On Tuesday, Jeremy Barnes scored from third base on a wild pitch to beat Toledo 8-7 after being down 5-0 after five innings. Elam's performance against the Boilermakers was the first time in five years that Notre Dame has held an opponent to one hit over nine innings. To show how dominant Elam's stuff was on Wednesday, the sophomore left-hander was hitting 93 MPH on the radar gun in the eighth inning.
West Virginia comes to South Bend eleven games over .500 at looking to get back to the even mark in league play. The Mountaineers can hit the ball. West Virginia was leading the Big East in hitting at a clip of .337 through Wednesday's action. The Mountaineers have seven players hitting over .300 for the season. They can also field the ball, placing third in the conference in fielding percentage. However, West Virginia is just 2-6 on the road in 2007.
Justin Jenkins is one of the top hitters in the league. Jenkins is hitting .429 on the year with six home runs and 37 runs batted in. Jenkins also has a slugging percentage of .729 and an on-base percentage of .487. Adam White hits at a clip of .391 and has scored 33 runs while driving in 24. Tyler Kuhn's 36 RBI's is second on the team to Jenkins and chips in with a .336 average. Jordan Yost has blasted eight home runs this season. Up and down the lineup, there are West Virginia players that smack the baseball all over the field.
The Mountaineers have four pitchers with six starts or more. Kenny Durst has nine starts on the season with a 4.06 ERA but sports a 4-2 record. Durst is second on team with 47 strikeouts. Josh Whitlock is 5-3 on the year with a 3.12 ERA and adds 42 strikeouts in 40.1 innings pitched. Matt Yurish leads West Virginia with 48 strikeouts in 47.1 innings pitched and combines that with a 3.04 ERA and a 2-2 mark. Levi Maxwell is 4-2 in six starts but has a high 5.77 ERA. The closer is Chris Enourato, who has four saves on the season to go along with a 3.31 ERA. Enourato is averaging a strikeout per inning.