Big 12 baseball is coming to Charleston.West Virginia University Director of Athletics Oliver Luck and West Virginia Power Executive Vice President Andy Milovich announced Tuesday that WVU would play nine games at Appalachian Power Park during the 2013 season."We're very excited about the opportunity to play in such a beautiful facility," Luck said during Tuesday's Power game. "It will be a great opportunity for our program. As the state's flagship university it's always important for us to get back to the state's largest city."The Mountaineers will host three series in Charleston with Texas Tech (March 22-24), Oklahoma (May 3-5) and Texas Christian (May 10-12) scheduled to visit.The location for WVU's fourth Big 12 home series (against Kansas in late April) will be announced at a later date.WVU's new baseball coach, Randy Mazey, came to Morgantown from TCU and said he looks forward to the level of competition his team will face this spring in Charleston."One thing I've learned about being at WVU so far is that there are Mountaineer fans all over the state," Mazey said. "This is the biggest city in the state and we want to capitalize on that and bring some really good baseball to the park. It will be great competition and a great level of college baseball."
The Mountaineers make the temporary move to Charleston while plans to build a stadium in Morgantown are in the process of being approved. Luck said the possible project near University Town Centre had cleared several hurdles but still had some to cross before definite plans could be set."We've had great support from Mon[ongalia] County with the so-called real estate TIF [tax increment financing] that's been approved," Luck said. "The state legislature still has to look at it and that will happen probably at the next legislative session. Long story short, it looks good and we're very confident that the ballpark will be up there at University Town Centre and not be the home of just Mountaineer baseball but also for Fairmont State. They've expressed a desire to play the games there and we would love to have them as part of that project as well and a minor league baseball team."With WVU now added to the schedule, Appalachian Power Park will be crowded in 2013 with the Mountaineers, Marshall and the University of Charleston all using the facility."When we opened the ballpark we had a commitment from the University of Charleston and they'll continue to play here," Milovich said. "The addition of Conference USA [and Marshall] was significant and something we were excited about, but to add the Big 12 and WVU to our schedule, with the following they have, takes it to a whole new level."With both WVU and the Thundering Herd making use of Appalachian Power Park, the subject of renewing the baseball series between the two schools was brought up. Luck said he would leave that decision for Mazey to make.The new Mountaineer coach and Marshall's athletic director, Mike Hamrick, have a history. Hamrick hired Mazey at East Carolina as an assistant in 1998 and again as the head coach for the Pirates during the 2002 season."I would defer to our coach on that one but I do know that Coach Mazey has a long existing relationship with Mike Hamrick," Luck said. "I'll let Randy decide who he wants to play. It's something that I'm sure we'll be talking about."