Preview: WVU Ballpark Opening & Butler Series

When West Virginia plays host to Butler as it opens Mon County Ballpark on Friday, it will be the coronation of two-plus years of effort in getting a facility with which the Mountaineers can begin to compete on a national scale. And now that the park nears completion, there's both a palpable sign of relief and the building anticipation.

Though the Mountaineers (18-12) weren't lucky enough to open the park on the originally scheduled St. Patrick's Day due to construction delays, WVU has gotten a chance to practice a couple times in the new facility, and learn how the ball plays off the unique features such as a section of the left field wall that's higher than the rest, and the longer artificial turf surface. Here, head coach Randy Mazey details those aspects and more before Friday's 6 p.m. first pitch versus Butler.

Shortstop Taylor Munden, below, speaks to the new facility, his play against Kansas State that topped the SportsCenter Top 10 on ESPN, how he believes the park and surface will play, the wind factor at the top of University Towne Center and his new middle infield pairing with multiple players at second base this season. Munden, as West Virginia's leadoff hitter, will have first shot at the initial Mountaineer hit at the new park.

And finally, right fielder Shaun Wood talks about hitting balls over the extended left field portion, the turnaround in his plate approach that has allowed him to jump into the upper .200s from a below .100 average over the first few weeks of the season, his thoughts on the new facility after a pair of practices and how the promise off the new park affected his recruiting.


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