By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
I thought Randy Mazey, West Virginia’s new head baseball coach, deserved to be voted Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.
But that award went to Brad Hill, who guided Kansas State to the league’s regular-season championship for the first time in its baseball history.
In the eyes of the other seven baseball coaches, Hill earned the nod. The margin of victory never is amounted unless it’s unanimous. No coach could vote for himself.
Kansas State, which was picked to finish seventh in the coaches’ preseason poll, wound up the 2013 campaign 16-8 in Big 12 games and 31-17 overall.
The Mountaineers, who were predicted to finish last among the nine clubs, wound up tied for third place. They ended up the year 13-11 in Big 12 play and 33-26 overall.
While West Virginia won the first meeting of the two schools’ three–game series by 13-2, the Wildcats bounced back for 6-5 and 4-3 wins in early March contests.
Hill already had been chosen Big 12 Coach of the Year before his team won two of three games in the conference tournament. The Mountaineers whipped TCU 10-3, then overcame a 5-0 deficit to upset second-seeded Oklahoma State 6-5 in 10 innings.
Mazey said it has been one of the most satisfying of his head coaching career. He couldn’t have been more proud of his players.
They just would not quit against any opponent. But West Virginia did not receive a bid to the NCAA baseball tournament.
The NCAA took only Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State, the automatic qualifier as regular-season titlist.
Mazey obviously has done an outstanding job with the players recruited by Greg Van Zant, his longtime predecessor. Hopefully, they will continue to improve and have an even better team in 2014.
There are just four seniors on the current roster. Those are pitcher Dan Dierdorff, outfielder Brady Wilson, outfielder Chris Rasky and catcher Alan Filauro.
Mazey also could lose other key contributors, including Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave, a redshirt sophomore, in the upcoming June Major League Baseball Draft.
Musgrave, who’s from nearby Bridgeport, is among WVU’s all-time greats. He posted a 9-1 record this year.
WVU’s 33 wins are the most in five years. Four come against teams ranked in the Baseball America poll.