MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When the college baseball season eventually comes to an end for the West Virginia University baseball team, four players will stick around in Morgantown and continue playing in their home ballpark.
Kevin Dowdell, Dayne Leonard, Caleb McNeely, and Tevin Tucker are all featured on the initial roster for the West Virginia Black Bears. The Black Bears are one of six teams in the MLB Draft League, and they are the defending champions. They play their home games at Monongalia County Ballpark, which is also the home of the Mountaineers.
Tucker is wrapping up his fifth season with the West Virginia baseball program. He is enjoying his best season of his collegiate career, having already tallied career-highs in batting average (.319), runs scored (55), hits (59), and on-base percentage (.467). He is also a semifinalist for the Brooks Wallace Award, given annually to the best shortstop in college baseball.
Leonard is in his second season with the Mountaineers. The WVU backstop has seen his average take a dip this year compared to last, but has continued to be productive at the plate. His 54 hits, 12 doubles, 31 walks, 40 runs scored, and 45 runs batted in are all superior to his 2022 totals. Leonard has also been exceptional behind the plate, defensively, owning the best caught-stealing rate in the Big 12 Conference.
Dowdell has appeared in 20 games in two seasons with West Virginia. He has a career ERA of 6.75. His opponent batting average this season is .167.
McNeely came to West Virginia with a reputation as a consistent hitter, and has lived up to the billing. The redshirt senior enters the NCAA Tournament with a .301 average, 62 hits, 29 extra-base hits, and 13 homers — tied for the second-most on this year’s roster.
These four players will join the Black Bears after the WVU baseball season comes to an end. They hope to extend their season this weekend as they compete in the Lexington Regional of the NCAA Tournament.
The West Virginia Black Bears begin the home portion of their 2023 season on June 6. The quartet of Mountaineers aim to play with the Black Bears until hearing their names called during the MLB Draft. The 2023 MLB Draft is set for July 9-11.
Former West Virginia standout David Carpenter will manage the Black Bears this summer. Carpenter was a 12th-round draft pick out of WVU in 2006 by the St. Louis Cardinals. He is an East Fairmont High School alumnus. After being a catcher for three years at West Virginia, Carpenter pitched parts of six seasons in the big leagues.