2017-05-31 / Sports

Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

WVU makes the field

The West Virginia University Baseball Team has been selected to play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. It will be the Mountaineers 12th appearance all time. WVU will open NCAA action in the Winston-Salem Regional. Seeded second, the Mountaineers will face third-seeded Maryland on Friday, June 2, at 2 p.m. ET at the David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. No. 1-seeded Wake Forest, ranked 14th nationally and fourth-seeded UMBC round out the regional.

WVU lost a 7-6 decision to the Terps in College Park in April. The Mountaineers enter tournament play with a 34-24 record overall and were 12-12 against Big 12 foes, seven of whom made the tournament field, Texas Tech and TCU were awarded the fifth and sixth overall seeds. This, obviously, suggests that WVU competed against tournament caliber teams day in and day out during conference play which should bode well as tournament play begins.

Much of the credit for the resurgence of the WVU baseball program has to go to head coach Randy Mazey. A Johnstown, Pa. native, Mazey played college ball at Clemson where he began his coaching career as a graduate assistant in 1990. Head coaching stops along the way include three seasons at Charleston Southern and three seasons at East Carolina where his team made three straight tournament appearances. Mazey’s 2004 ECU team was 51-13 and made the NCAA Super Regional. Mazey was the Associate head coach at TCU when former athletic director Oliver Luck hired him for the 2013 season when WVU began Big 12 play.

“West Virginia has never received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in 125 years of baseball,” Mazey said. “When an opportunity like that presents itself, it just doesn’t happen by accident. You’ve got to commit to it, take pride in it and work toward it. The first thing you’ve got to do is to make a decision that you want to do it. That’s what this team did. The proof is in the pudding that they made a decision to do this. Let that be a lesson to everybody out there that if you really want to do something special, you can.”

The format this weekend is double elimination. If the Mountaineers win Friday’s game they will play Saturday at 7 p.m. A loss will put them in Saturday’s 2 p.m. elimination game. The games will be streamed live on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app.

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