West Virginia right-hander Blaine Traxel was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week on Monday following his complete game victory over Arizona. The honors came in Traxel’s second start in a Mountaineers uniform: he’s a fifth year senior who spent the first four years of his career at Cal State Northridge.
Never a Doubt
Despite the heavy mileage, Traxel said his pitch count didn’t come up in conversations with head coach Randy Mazey during the game. He emphasized how Mazey’s hands-off approach helped him.
“He didn’t say anything to me regarding my pitch count the whole game…the coaches are setting me up for success with everything that I’m doing,” Traxel said. “I was letting him know I was feeling good and felt like my pitches were getting better as I was moving along.”
Sitting at 92 pitches after six innings, Traxel’s day was nearly over by most modern pitching standards. Instead, he turned in a throwback performance for the ages, kickstarting a second wind with a methodical five pitch seventh.
“After that inning I think it just solidified that I was throwing strikes,” Traxel said. “They [my defense] made it a little bit easier within that inning for me to move along further in the game.”
— Blaine Traxel (@moneytraxel12) February 27, 2023
Traxel put the exclamation point on his complete game by striking out a pair of batters in the ninth inning, and spoke to the energy in the Mountaineers dugout as he completed the feat.
“It was pretty electric, when I [went] out for the ninth inning…putting everything I had into it and just getting outs as quick as possible…being efficient with it,” Traxel said. “The dugout, the energy, everything like that was very intense…having my teammates [have] my back…I was pretty confident with that behind me.”
Traxel’s Mountaineers family wasn’t the only group giving him a boost last weekend. Traxel grew up in California, making Tucson a manageable weekend trip for his family—at least when compared to the trek to Morgantown.
“Being home on the west coast, [I] got to see my family,” Traxel said. “They came out for maybe the only game that they’ll get to see all year…that was really nice getting to see them, and having them at the game, hearing them cheer for me. They are a loud family that’s in the crowd, so I like having them behind me as well.”
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