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WVU Maturing Ahead of Penn State Series

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WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey talks with his team after a 9-4 win over Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle) WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey talks with his team after a 9-4 win over Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament (PHOTO: Geoff Coyle)

By Chris Jackson

Although it marked West Virginia’s third straight series loss over the weekend, head coach Randy Mazey saw something with his team.

Mazey saw growth. He saw his team mature in big ways despite losing the first two games of the series against No. 6 Texas Tech by one run, pulling out a critical 3-2 victory in the series finale to avoid the sweep.

One of those points of growth came from redshirt freshman reliever Cody Wood, who two weeks ago failed to record an out against TCU, notched the save Sunday while finding the strike zone with 11 of his 15 pitches.

“Cody Wood, who got the save right there, is the same guy who was out there two weeks ago against TCU that couldn’t throw a strike and got caught up in the moment,” Mazey said. “This team is growing up.”

Continuing the path of improving will be key entering a two-game set against Penn State on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the first game coming at 6:30 p.m.Tuesday at Monongalia County Ballpark and the second at 7 p.m. Wednesday inside Pittsburgh’s PNC Park.

“Our program is very excited for the opportunity to play at PNC Park,” Mazey said in a statement to WVUSports.com. “I’d like to thank the Nutting family, Frank Coonelly and the Pirates front office for helping facilitate the event. We look forward to a great game against Penn State in the best ballpark in Major League Baseball.”

Penn State enters with a 14-32 record and No. 227 ranking in the latest RPI, a sizable difference compared to WVU’s 27-19 record and No. 15 spot in the RPI. The Nittany Lions are also amidst a six-game losing streak and a stretch where they have lost 12 of their last 14.

But while the rankings aren’t in its favor, Penn State does maintain a recent string of success against the Mountaineers as it owns a three-game winning streak against them, including a 5-4 victory last year.

Continuing the maturation process will be key for WVU to end the skid against the Nittany Lions.

“They’re growing up and playing with the best teams in the country,” Mazey said after the Texas Tech series. “That might be the best team in the United States right there and we came in and played three one-run games with.”

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