OKLAHOMA CITY–Utility man Braden Zarbnisky has been an essential component of the West Virginia University baseball team the entire season.
The sophomore literally does it all. He pitches, hits, steals bases and plays outfield but what makes Zarbnisky superior is the fact that he does it all well.
In the Mountaineers’ 8-4 loss to Oklahoma State on Thursday, the Marietta, Ga. native excelled at the plate. He went 4-for-4 with one RBI and scored one run.
“It was just being confident, working on my hitting, keep on driving the ball and going out there with confidence, don’t let the pitcher out-think you, just work on driving the ball,” he said. “If he gets two strikes just work on putting out the play and see if you can beat anything out.”
That has been the case for much of the season for Zarbnisky.
During the regular season, the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder had a .356 batting average with nine RBI. He walked 17 times and had an on-base percentage of .450.
Once Zarbnisky gets on base, he is someone opposing pitchers need to keep an eye. He swiped 11 bases, which was 10th in the conference. Despite being picked off against the Cowboys, the Pope High School alum still poses a threat on the base path.
When Zarbnisky isn’t tearing it up at the plate, he is dazzling on the mound. He posted a 2.67 ERA with a 5-1 record and six saves, which was among league leaders during the regular season. He led the Mountaineers with four pickoffs.
It is undoubtedly true that Zarbnisky has been crucial to WVU’s success this season. He earned All-Big 12 First Team accolades this season.
“I honestly thought,” head coach Randy Mazey said, “he could have been the player of the year in our conference.”
If the Mountaineers anticipate winning the Big 12 Championship and making a splash in the post season, Zarbnisky will be expected to continue his dominance.