Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

May 9, 2014

Mazey has WVU baseball in upper half of Big 12

MORGANTOWN — You’ve got to give Coach Randy Mazey and his hot West Virginia University baseball players a lot of credit so far this season.

With six more games on the schedule, plus the Big 12 Conference Tournament to play, the Mountaineers (27-17) can be proud of where they are in the Big 12 standings. WVU is in fourth place.

Mazey, in his second year at the helm, obviously has done a magnificent job of preparation since taking over the current program. He has said his team has become so confident that the players believe they are capable of beating any baseball team they face.

The Mountaineers certainly took a giant-size step in the conference last weekend in closing an historic Hawley Field for the last time. They took a 2-1 series from No. 11 Texas (34-15, 11-10 Big 12).

In that three-game set, West Virginia collected 36 hits and scored 17 runs.

Obviously, that’s most impressive, coming against virtually a Top 10 club.

Besides the Longhorns, the Mountaineers won Big 12 conference series this year against Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State.

Sunday’s memorable 12-6 win in Hawley Field’s finale drew a crowd of 2,237.

That was the second-largest crowd in the history of this baseball park that hosted its first game in 1971.

Ironically, WVU did not play a single Big 12 game there during the 2013 season. Athletic director Oliver Luck, had been quoted as saying Hawley Field was not up to Big 12 standards. A conference official later said the Big 12 had no such ruling.

Fans can thank Coach Mazey for reportedly urging the university to permit playing league games on campus at Hawley this season.

Last year the Mountaineers were playing home games in Charleston and Beckley.

The Mountaineers, who nipped old rival Virginia Tech 4-3 on Tuesday in Princeton, still have six conference games to play in the 2014 schedule. All are on the road.

WVU visits Kansas for a three-game series this weekend, and Texas Tech on May 15-16- 17.

The Jayhawks (30-20, 11-9 Big 12) are third in the league standings. The Red Raiders (34-16, 11-10 Big 12) are tied for fifth place with Texas.

WVU also has a non-conference clash at Maryland on May 13.

In the win against The Virginia Tech Hokies, WVU required three rallies to succeed.

Coach Mazey, who took over the program on June 6, 2013, obviously did not find the cupboard empty. His predecessor, Greg VanZant, left him 17 players VanZant recruited. I’m told that nine of those remain on this year’s squad. So it’s always nice to remember not to forget the contributions by a coach who loses his job.

This firm feeling is no way intended to take away any credit from Randy Mazey’s fine job.

 

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MICKEY FURFARI