Mazey Proud as WVU Baseball Season Comes to an End - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Mazey Proud as WVU Baseball Season Comes to an End

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MORGANTOWN -

An emotional Randy Mazey sat behind the microphone Saturday night and expressed just what he felt about the players who lined the press conference table beside him and the dugout he just behind left after a second Big 12 Tournament victory.

"I love these guys," said Mazey. "When I go to bed tonight, if TCU wins this thing tonight and we advance to the championship, I'm going to go to bed tonight feeling really confident about us being the Big 12 champions. If TCU doesn't win this game, I will feel no different about these guys sitting with me and the guys in that dugout. I love this team to death."

Mazey's Mountaineers had taken care of the only game they could control, beating Oklahoma State in comeback and walk-off fashion, and now put their destiny in another team's hands. If TCU beat Kansas in the game that followed theirs, WVU would be playing for a Big 12 title.

Unfortunately for West Virginia that night, the Jayhawks finished their time in the pool play undefeated.

A season that began with every single coach in the conference voting the Mountaineers to finish in last place came to an end with a thrilling victory that left the team, at least for a few hours, brimming with hope.

Facing a 5-0 deficit to the No. 2 team in the league, WVU entered the bottom of the sixth inning with the confidence that it could turn the game around with a run of its own. 

"Nothing these guys would do would ever surprise me. We could be down 10-0 and I would still feel like we were going to win the game," said the first-year WVU coach. "What they've done this year, just the grit and the grind it out mentality, they're relentless. They never, ever give up and that's a perfect example."

Despite five errors in the field to yield each of TCU's unearned runs, the Mountaineers stayed focused and with a two-run single from Ryan Tuntland, an absolute bomb of a two-run home run from Ryan McBroom and a solo shot from Brady Wilson, they tied the game with five runs all coming with two outs in the sixth.

"Overall, nobody really expected anything of us at all," Wilson said after the game. "It just shows you how throughout this whole year, we've been down, we've had our backs against the wall, but we've [faced] adversity and we've always come back. It's just another Mountaineer win for us."

Mazey thinks back to the first team meeting with his players after taking the job. He informed these young men that he would be taking them all on a 12-mile hike the following morning at 6 o'clock, so they'd better set their alarms early, put on some durable shoes and get their minds right for what they had ahead of them.

The twelve miles were symbolic of the team's transition into the Big 12, but the message that day was something far greater.

"The idea was to give them something that when you first hear it, you think it's insurmountable," said Mazey. "But the more you think about it, if you just put one foot in front of the other, long enough, eventually you'll get 12 miles if you keep going."

Before the trek began, Mazey asked each of his student-athletes to share with his teammates something that will motivate him to make it to the end of that 12-mile hike and to continue beyond it to do his best throughout the season.

When he met with the Mountaineers earlier this week, after the team had taken time to help purchase and deliver items Oklahoma tornado victims may need after the devastation they experienced, Mazey knew they had all of the motivation they needed.

"We were playing this week for a little bit bigger cause than each individual player. We were going to try and play for the people here," said Mazey. "When you're playing for something bigger than yourself, maybe that's why Bobby [Boyd] ran a little faster from second to home. This team never surprises me and I knew right away when we all shared a little bit at that trailhead that we had a special team here."

Boyd ran from second to home as soon as the ball left Jacob Rice's bat and West Virginia came away with an improbable extra inning victory.

The season ended with jubilation. It ended with a third-place finish in the Big 12 regular season and 33-26 overall record.

It ended with respect from a conference that gave West Virginia baseball very little when it first arrived just a short time ago. And it ended with expectations for what the program's future holds. 

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