GAME PREVIEW: Mountaineers fired up for Backyard Brawl - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

GAME PREVIEW: Mountaineers fired up for Backyard Brawl

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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

Sports Editor

West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey knows he doesn’t have to motivate his team ahead of Tuesday’s game.

It was difficult Sunday due to all the distractions, which still resulted in a 4-3 victory over Gardner-Webb to sweep the two-game weekend series. It was Senior Day and Mother’s Day, with tears on the field before the game.

But now, none of that is in the way as the Mountaineers prepare to host Pittsburgh in the Backyard Brawl at 6:30 p.m.

“They know what the Pitt series is all about and they know what it means to us,” Mazey said. “I’m not worried about our guys being fired up for that one.”

Pitt, ranked No. 134 in the latest RPI, enters as losers of three straight and six of its last seven games. The latest series was a sweep against NC State, allowing seven-plus runs in each of the three contests.

And as the Panthers are struggling and have also lost eight of their last 12 to WVU – including an 8-4 defeat earlier this year – the Mountaineers are surging once again. They are riding a three-game winning streak, and despite none of those being to teams with winning records and top 100 RPI rankings, they are finding different ways to win.

After splurging for 15 runs Saturday against Gardner-Webb, WVU mustered out a 4-3 victory in a low-scoring affair. It was deemed an “ugly win” by Mazey, a necessity according to the fifth-year head coach.

Senior reliever Jackson Sigman certainly agrees.

“At this point of the season, coach Mazey said before that an ugly win is better than a pretty loss,” Sigman said. “Right now we need to win as many games as we can.”

WVU will likely need to win more games like that to close out the last four games of the regular season against Pitt and Texas, and heading into the postseason as the Big 12 Tournament looms next week.

For senior first baseman Jackson Cramer - who will play his last-ever game at Monongalia County Ballpark – and the Mountaineers, Tuesday will be another pivotal game. Ranked No. 20 in RPI and sitting on the verge of their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996, a victory will put them one step closer to breaking the drought.

Cramer is ready for his final game in Morgantown and to face a Backyard Brawl foe.

“It’s a good one to end on too,” Cramer said. “I can’t believe it’s already here though. That’ll be a big game for me because I’ve played a lot of games in this park.”

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