WVU Baseball Confident Heading into Showdown with Marshall - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Baseball Confident Heading into Showdown with Marshall

Randy Mazey speaks with media following 14-2 win over Maryland. Randy Mazey speaks with media following 14-2 win over Maryland.
West Virginia had no issues getting runs across the plate Tuesday night at Hawley Field as the Mountaineers hammered the visiting Maryland Terrapins 14-2.

The run total in the past two games for WVU is up 23 and for a team that had once struggle to hits into men crossing home plate, it’s a positive sign for the direction Randy Mazey’s squad is heading.

 Offense is contagious and when one guy sees another guy get a swing off, it kind of filters its way through the dug out,” Mazey said after Tuesday’s win over Maryland. “Everybody right now is going up there with the intention of really getting their swing off and getting a good pitch to hit. That’s been our hitting philosophy all along, it’s just now starting to come to fruition.”

West Virginia now sports a 20-16 record with four games remaining in its current homestand. Next up, a quick turnaround to host Marshall Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

The visiting Thundering Herd are 18-20 on the season and winners of five-straight, but sandwiched between an ACC foe like Maryland and a return to Big 12 play with Kansas State this weekend, Mazey sees Marshall as the epitome of a trap game.

“This is one of those that you look in the coaching dictionary and we’re primed for a let down,” Mazey said Tuesday. “Every game we play turns into the biggest game of the year and tomorrow is no different. We can’t afford to take a day off and not show up tomorrow. We’ve got a lot to play for right now and a loss tomorrow would hurt us really bad in the RPI.”

The Mountaineers have been climbing their way back up in the RPI, currently sitting in the No. 29 position after knocking off the No. 21 Terrapins.

Helping the cause is the emergence of Ross Vance, now 2-0 in his only career starts, and offensive production from right fielder Brad Johnson.

Johnson has appeared in only nine games for WVU and is batting .400 with eight hits and seven RBIs, including three Tuesday against Maryland.

“He got off to a rough start this season and made a decision that he was going to play loosely and not worry about anything and just go out there and do what he does. He sure has responded big time,” Mazey said.

The head coach pulled out a quote from New York Yankee great Yogi Berra, saying, “Ninety percent of baseball is 50 percent mental.” That, according to Mazey, is what explains the progress Johnson has made at the plate.

“The kid is playing with confidence,” Mazey said. “Confidence is a decision you make. It’s really easy when things are going well, but it’s pretty tough and you really need it when things aren’t going well.”

Winners of four of their last five, the Mountaineers are now in a position where things are going well. The challenge at this point is to ensure that they continue to head in that direction and come away with positive results at home.

“Even when we were losing all of those games in a row, we knew we had a good club. We knew we just needed one thing to turn it around,” Mazey said, pointing to Vance and Johnson as the sparks in getting back on track. “We’ve been waiting for production out of the bottom of the lineup and somebody out of the bullpen and when we finally get that, now I think the real Mountaineers team is showing up.”

First pitch against Marshall is scheduled for 6 p.m. from Hawley Field. 

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