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Randy Mazey Makes NCAA Tournament Case for WVU Baseball



WVU Baseball HC Randy Mazey

WVU Baseball sits at 33-20 at the conclusion of their regular season, good for the No. 4 spot in the Big 12 standings despite playing without three of their best players for extended periods of time.

Heading into the conference tournament, head coach Randy Mazey described guarded expectations. A Big 12 championship would mean an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, while anything less will place them at the mercy of the selection committee, which left them on the outside looking in during the 2022 season.

“We don’t know if we’re fighting for our postseason lives here or not,” Mazey said. “We’d like to think that we could get put in, but I’ve thought that before and it hasn’t happened.”

Although Mazey spent a great deal of time outlining the Mountaineers’ case for an at-large bid ahead of the conference tournament, he didn’t mince words.

“I think we have an unbelievable case. For them [the selection committee] to not let us in would be a crime, really, but they’ve committed crimes before,” Mazey said. “I won’t go to bed at night feeling all that great about it until I see the Mountaineers’ name pop up on screen.” 

Mazey Makes the Case for WVU Baseball

Mazey cited the Mountaineers’ poor luck with injuries this season as a boon to their 33-20 record. Superstar shortstop JJ Wetherholt missed 25 games with a hamstring injury; weekend starter Derek Clark missed the first three turns through the rotation, and other key contributors like Logan Sauve, Brodie Kresser and Grant Hussey each missed time as well.

“It also begs the question of how good could this team have been had all that not happened?” If we hadn’t gone through the adversity, we could’ve had a special season,” Mazey said. “But now that we’ve got everybody back, that’s the team that’s in place, we can have a special season moving forward.”

He added that although Wetherholt has been back for more than a month, he’s only just starting to round into form, getting his timing at the plate up to game speed… potentially a case of getting hot at the right time, as he’s hit three home runs across the past five games.

He also pointed out the strength of the Big 12 according to RPI, a metric that ranks every team in Division I baseball using their strength of schedule and location of wins (with road victories earning more credit than home ones). Of the ten teams in the conference tournament, Kansas has the lowest rating: a respectable No. 73. Each of the others sits within the top 60, and the Mountaineers clock in at No. 33.

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New-Look Big 12 Tournament

Mazey said that the Mountaineers’ uncertain tournament prospects made it more difficult to prepare for the short week leading into the conference tournament. West Virginia’s road to a potential Big 12 title begins at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, a day earlier than in previous years thanks to the addition of BYU, who never plays on Sundays, to the conference. 

Had Mazey felt better about West Virginia’s chances of securing a bid, he could’ve lightened the workload for his starting rotation during the final regular season series against TCU. Instead, he knows that the Mountaineers have to take things one game at a time, placing a premium on every single win.

Other changes to the tournament include a potential off day on Wednesday should WVU Baseball win their first round matchup. While Mazey gushed over the potential chance to spell his pitchers, he also joked that he won’t issue a verdict on the new format until the dust settles.

WVU Hands Randy Mazey Win in Regular Season Finale; Big 12 Tournament Matchup Set

Can’t Look Ahead

“That would be a godsend, to have that day off on Wednesday, give you a day to rest and recover,” Mazey said. “But you can’t even attempt to think about Wednesday before you think about Tuesday.”

On the topic of looking ahead, Mazey discussed his philosophy for keeping his team in the moment despite the looming knowledge that they might need to put on a show in order to pass the eye test, ensure a tournament spot. 

“We don’t spend a ton of time talking about it. They know the drill our job is just to keep them focused on every pitch of every game. You can’t ignore all the other stuff because of social media, it’s in your face and they get on all the websites and social media and see what it’s all about,” Mazey said. “Once one pitch is completed, it becomes ancient history, and all you need to worry about at that point is the next.”

Watch Mazey’s full discussion with the media below.

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