The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
The West Virginia University baseball program, under Head Coach Randy Mazey, took another huge step this past season.
The Mountaineers made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. Ironically, that team was led by a pair of former Harrison County standouts. Washington Irving’s Chris Swaney and Bridgeport’s Joe McNamee helped that team to a Big East title and a pair of back to back wins at Clemson University, before a lack of pitching forced two consecutive losses and an end to that season.
It was much of the same story for this year’s version as they claimed a pair of wins in Wake Forest territory. Pitching was an issue for this squad due to several key injuries that limited what and whom Mazey could put on the mound. Despite the early season injuries, this group battled through the adversity, finishing fourth in the Big 12 and earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament.
In their opening game on the Demon Deacon’s Diamond, the Mounties claimed a win over Maryland, avenging a regular season loss to the Terps. The bats were working overtime as the Mounties cracked six home runs in the victory.
The second game was pivotal in the double elimination affair. WVU had the lead until the fifth inning against home standing Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons scored all of their runs in the last four frames to claim the 4-3 win.
Facing elimination, the Mountaineers were forced into a rematch with Maryland. To make matters worse, WVU found themselves trailing 4-0 and down to their last twelve outs. However, an offensive onslaught ensued, allowing West Virginia to score eight unanswered runs to stave off elimination.
The season came to an end when WVU lost to the Deamon Deacons for a second consecutive time, 12-8. A two hour delay couldn’t take either teams focus or hitting away as this tilt had a heavyweight title bout feel.
These squads combined for 26 total hits and 20 runs. The Mountaineers finished with a 36-26 record, matching their win total from a year ago. The program has continued to be on the rise since 2013 when Mazey took over the program.
Mazey has amassed a 160-125 record in his five seasons at the helm of the program. He has never had a losing season in Morgantown and he has claimed 27 or more wins in every campaign. The Mounties have finished fourth or better in the Big 12 conference three of his five years in Touchdown City.
The future is looking really bright for Mazey and the Mounties, as Jackson Cramer (first baseman) and Jackson Sigman (right handed pitcher) are the only two players on the roster that are out of eligibility for 2018.
This year had its fair share of big wins and series wins over no.3 TCU, no.10 Baylor, and no.23 Oklahoma State, which proved they can hold their own in the Big 12 Conference. This continued success will help WVU’s recruiting efforts in the midwest and the south where the vast majority of the country’s baseball talent can be located. Mazey has this program going in the right direction. Now the administration must pay the piper or at least Mazey. If he isn’t fairly compensated, then he might be persuaded to make a move and Mountaineer fans don’t want that to occur. Pay the man for being the man!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!