WVU's Mazey: "It's Time to Win A Lot" - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU's Mazey: "It's Time to Win A Lot"

MORGANTOWN - A roller coaster season has its twists and turns, its ups and downs and Randy Mazey believes it’s just about time for this ride to start trending up again.

On Sunday afternoon, the West Virginia baseball team embarked on a six-hour drive from Lubbock, Texas to Oklahoma City in preparation for the Big 12 tournament. The Mountaineers were leaving behind a second weekend in which they were swept by a conference foe and looking ahead to a new opportunity to bolster a postseason resume.

After beginning the season 16-8, Mazey’s team dropped seven in a row. When they broke that streak, they enjoyed a stretch in which they won 11 of their next 13 outings before again falling into a seven-game setback. That is the scenario as the Mountaineers look ahead to the start of the tournament on Wednesday.

“We’re kind of used to this,” Mazey said on a teleconference. “We won a lot early, then we lost a lot, then we won a lot, then we lost a lot. So it looks to me like it’s time to win a lot.”

WVU enters the tournament as the No. 6 seed, faced with a rematch against the No. 3 Kansas Jayhawks, the same team that swept them in Lawrence just over a week ago.

Mazey does not view that recent failure as a sign of things to come, though. In fact, he compares the situation his team is in going into the tournament to what the Jayhawks experienced last season and he feels like the odds are stacked in West Virginia’s favor.

A year ago, the Mountaineers took all three regular season games from the Jayhawks in late April and Kansas came to Oklahoma City on a six-game losing streak. They then proceeded to beat WVU 7-2 in the opening game, took the next two and fell to Oklahoma in the championship match-up.

“We are eerily similar to where Kansas was last year,” Mazey said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt in any of our players’ minds or our coaches’ minds that we’re going to win that first game. We’ve played really well on this field in Oklahoma City, we have a lot of confidence on this field and the last time we were there, we had a dog pile behind home plate. We’re going to go into this thing with a ton of confidence.”

Last year’s double elimination tournament format was changed to pool play after a tornado tore through the area, guaranteeing the Mountaineers three games. It also gave them the chance to win their last game of the season on a walk-off and get that dog pile Mazey mentioned, which he says was an enormous boost heading into the offseason.

Now, they return to double elimination, meaning that a loss in Game 1 would send WVU to the loser’s bracket. It can also prove difficult when it comes to determining a pitching lineup as the opponent will not be known in advance. Still, Mazey intends to stick with his weekend rotation of Harrison Musgrave, Ross Vance and John Means if West Virginia gets at least three games.

After pitching in Lubbock over the weekend, it will be a quick turnaround for each of the three starters.

“You have to change your routine a little bit, but they’re young kids and they’re very resilient,” Mazey said. “If these guys have any aspirations of pitching professionally, most pitchers pitch on every five days. We keep them on every seven days during the season, so this is something they need to learn how to do.”

West Virginia enters the tournament desperately grasping for a way to get into an NCAA Regional. With the No. 29 RPI, the Mountaineers are fourth-best in the Big 12 conference, with only three teams in the ACC and three in the Pac-12 ranked ahead of them.

Mazey thinks back to a season in which his Eastern Carolina team earned an at-large bid despite having an RPI in the fifties, but he would rather not leave his team’s fate up for debate.

“You never know what you need to get in. It all depends on what else happens around the country,” Mazey said. “In boxing or MMA or anything like that, they always say don’t leave it in the hands of the judges, go for a knockout.”

WVU gets Kansas Wednesday morning in the first game of the Big 12 tournament, set for a 10 a.m. EST first pitch. 

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