Freshman catcher Tobias Streich leads the Mountaineers with a .455 average through his first four games. Streich is the lone Mountaineer to have two multiple-hit games and is on a three-game hitting streak. WVU split a four-game series against Akron in Winston-Salem, N.C. this past weekend to open the 2008 campaign. The Mountaineers fell in game one, 5-1, before completing the doubleheader sweep on Saturday, 11-3 and 2-1. West Virginia dropped the fourth game, 3-2, against the Zips, to even their record at 2-2.
Also, the school's rifle team has qualified to compete in the 2008 NCAA Men's and Women's Rifle Championships. The top eight teams in the country will participate in the tournament held March 15-16, at West Point Military Academy in West Point, N.Y. WVU will compete against Alaska-Fairbanks, Kentucky, Nebraska, Nevada-Reno, Texas Christian, Army and Navy in its first NCAA Championship appearance since 2002.
"I'm really excited about going to NCAA's, especially for the first time as coach and with this team," comments Head Coach Jon Hammond. "They've worked hard this year and deserve to be there, and we'll just go and do our best. I was on the team in 2003 and the championships were also at West Point so it brings back good memories. I'll be looking to Lafe (Kunkel) to lead the team being the senior, but our freshmen have showed their quality in the last month or so and I think they will be more than ready to put in a good performance."
Individual and team competitions in smallbore three-position will be held on Friday, March 14, with individual and team competitions in air rifle to be held on Saturday, March 15. The overall team champion will be determined by combining the smallbore and air rifle team totals into one aggregate score. WVU holds the most NCAA Rifle Championships since 1980 with 13. Alaska-Fairbanks has won a total of nine and is two-time defending national champions. The Mountaineers finished third at the 2008 Great American Rifle Conference (GARC) championship with a team aggregate score of 4,626 this past weekend. Hammond was named GARC Coach of the Year, after leading the squad to an 8-3 record this season.
Finally, the women's soccer team travels to State College, Pa., Saturday, March 1, for a 1 p.m. match with Penn State. The Mountaineers and Nittany Lions will play a 90-minute indoor match to open the spring season. The contest is the first of five competition dates allowed by the NCAA. The Mountaineers will also face James Madison, Purdue, Ohio State and Maryland in the spring season.
On Sunday, March 2, West Virginia will play host to its annual 4-versus-4 tournament to raise funds for the Betty Puskar Breast Care Center. More than 65 teams will compete in the "Three's a Team…the Fourth's a Mountaineer" all-day event at the Caperton Indoor Practice Facility. The event will feature boys and girls in grades three through eight, an open division and over-30 division. Each team of three will be completed by a fourth from the WVU women's soccer team. Sunday's tournament is the first half of WVU's spring efforts to kick breast cancer and raise awareness about the disease. WVU will play Purdue, the defending Big Ten champions, in the fifth annual Betty Puskar Breast Care Center Soccer Invitational on April 13, at Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium.
Over the past four years, the WVU women's soccer team has raised more than $26,000 to help fight breast cancer. The Betty Puskar Breast Care Center provides a comprehensive program for breast care, offering the best available expertise, educational tools and technology aimed at the prevention and early detection of breast cancer.