The West Virginia baseball team honored its five-man senior class early Saturday afternoon, prior to the Mountaineers’ game against Miami (Ohio). While Senior Day is typically reserved for a team’s final home game of the season, a couple of last-minute schedule changes moved WVU’s Senior Day to Saturday with two more home games to play on Sunday. While the seniors were honored on Saturday, the celebration lasted all weekend long.
The Mountaineers swept the four-game weekend, winning both games against Miami on Friday and Saturday and sweeping a doubleheader against Dayton on Sunday.
Senior left-hander Jackson Wolf started Friday’s game and got the win, allowing just one run over 6 2/3 innings of work with seven strikeouts.
“It’s a good way for him to go out,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said afterwards. “Hopefully, he’ll go out and get a chance to go play [professionally], he deserves it, he’s earned it.”
Wolf has been the ace of WVU’s staff each of the last two seasons. This year, Wolf is top-10 in the Big 12 with a 3.13 ERA and tied for second with 93 strikeouts.
“I didn’t put two and two together that was potentially his last appearance at Mon County until I was walking off the field,” Mazey said. “It’s just another chapter in his baseball career and he can flip the page and move on to bigger and better things. Follow the leads of the guys ahead of him … keep learning and keep getting better and hopefully pitch for a long time.”
Wolf was not the only senior to have a good performance in his home finale. Paul McIntosh knocked in four runs in the doubleheader against Dayton Sunday, Tyler Doanes had four hits over the weekend with four RBI and three runs scored, Kevin Brophy hit a double and scored three times and Hudson Byorick powered WVU’s offense Saturday with a three-RBI game.
“They’ve been through a lot, this will be a career that they remember,” Mazey said. “From the first time we’d been in a regional in a long time and then we hosted a regional and then we got the COVID thing. We’ve had a lot of great days in the Big 12 and they were a part of putting this program where it’s at right now.”
McIntosh is in his third season with the Mountaineers. In his career, he has hit .262 with 21 doubles, 20 home runs and 72 RBI. Doanes is in his fourth season, third as a full-time starter. He carries a career .295 average with 34 doubles and 38 stolen bases.
No one on the 2021 roster has been a Mountaineer longer than Brophy. The fifth-year senior made his college debut all the way back in 2017 and has appeared in 153 games since.
“Brophy’s been a lot of fun to have around,” Mazey said. “We kid him about being 40 years old and that kind of stuff, but he’s the guy that kind of takes care of every freshman class that comes in here.
“He’s the upperclassman that knows the ropes and has been around the longest. It seems like all the freshmen look to him to see how we do it on the field, off the field and he’s always got a smile on his face. He’s going to be successful in life when he moves on after baseball. He’s been around for five years now, it’s been a long time since we hadn’t had Brophy on the field. I know from a personal standpoint, I sure am going to miss him.”
2021 will be Byorick’s only year in gold and blue but he has made the most of it, hitting .276 with 13 extra-base hits, 20 RBI and 20 runs scored.
“They meant a lot to the program. For me especially, it’s their leadership,” sophomore Victor Scott said. “I look up to a lot of those guys for how they carry themselves. It’s how I want to carry myself when I become a junior and a senior.”
West Virginia will finish the 2021 regular season with a three-game road series this weekend against Texas. Action will start at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Austin, TX. The 2021 Big 12 Baseball Championship is scheduled to begin next Tuesday, May 25.