When opportunity comes it is important to take advantage of it. Well, an opportunity has come for West Virginia sophomore Alec Burns and so far, he has been making the most of it.
Burns, a corner infielder, came to WVU in 2019 as one of the top-rated recruits in the state of New Hampshire. After redshirting in 2019, Burns did not find much playing time in WVU’s veteran-laden infield last year. During that truncated 2020 season, Burns had just 12 at-bats across WVU’s 16 games. He collected two hits, a single and a double, and only started three games.
With the Mountaineers’ offense struggling recently in 2021, Burns has started each of WVU’s last three games at third base and is making his case to remain in the starting lineup long-term. Burns is 3 for 9 in WVU’s last three games with a double, home run, three walks, two RBI, three runs scored.
“This guy is must-see baseball,” catcher Paul McIntosh said after Tuesday’s win over Pitt. “He’s a guy that can leave the yard at any given time. He hasn’t played a lot, so it’s really impressive to see what he’s been doing at the plate.”
Burns’s first start came on Saturday in WVU’s second of three games against No. 5 TCU last weekend. He wasted no time making an impression, driving in a run in the sixth inning and hitting his first career home run in the eighth.
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) May 1, 2021
Against bitter rival Pitt on Tuesday, Burns collected two more hits, a lead-off double in the second inning and a single.
“He’s come in there and he’s swinging with a purpose,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “He’s got some power, he’s got a little bit of a feel for hitting and he’s given us a whole different dimension there in that spot in the lineup.”
In all three starts, Burns hit in the sixth spot in WVU’s lineup. The Mountaineers currently have the worst offense in the Big 12, averaging just 5.1 runs per game. Having a little extra pop in the bottom half of the lineup could be just what WVU needs down the final stretch of the seaosn.
“You’re going to have to pitch to him a little bit and if you make a mistake, he can put runs on the board with one swing of the bat,” Mazey said. “Which is what we need right now.”
West Virginia will continue its extended homestand this weekend with a three-game series against Oklahoma beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening at Mon County Ballpark.