Friday, August 18, 2017

Everything falling in place for WVU baseball

Ivan Vera (32) steps up to bat against Baylor on Saturday, April 30, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

Ivan Vera (32) steps up to bat against Baylor on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Baseball is a long season and back in April it looked like it might be a long season for the West Virginia University baseball team.

The Mountaineers began the season 10-4 with a series sweep against UNLV but things quickly turned sour.

TCU annihilated WVU in a three-game series on the road before losing to Penn State. Canisius swept a midweek series from the Mountaineers at home. Furman and Kansas State each took a series victory over the young baseball team.

Disappointment was evident with many but WVU didn’t shy away and let a rough patch define its season. Instead the Mountaineers continued battling as a team.

Since April 24, WVU has gone 9-1 with a series sweep over Texas.

Randy Mazey talks with catcher Ray Guerrini (42) against Baylor on Saturday, April 30, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

Randy Mazey talks with catcher Ray Guerrini (42) against Baylor on Saturday, April 30, 2016.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

“We have been playing team baseball here for the last couple of weeks,” head coach Randy Mazey said. “And when you play team baseball, you usually win games.”

The Mountaineers are 28-19 on the season and are having one of their best seasons since joining the Big 12. If WVU wins at least one game over Texas Tech next week, the Mountaineers will finish in fourth place in the conference and one game over .500.

“We are just feeling pretty confident,” Mazey said. “I think everybody in the dugout thinks we’re going to win every game. We’re starting to get really comfortable in this park, swinging the bat in this park and starting to play with confidence. Everything is a slow process. Nothing in this sport happens over night so I think it’s taken us awhile to settle into this field and now I think we’re settled in and are playing pretty well here.”

What WVU is doing right now says volumes about where the baseball program is going. The Mountaineers have four seniors on the roster, one position player, one starter and two relief pitchers.

Jimmy Galusky rounds third to score a run against Marshall on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

Jimmy Galusky rounds third to score a run against Marshall on Wednesday, April 27, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst, BGS)

WVU starts six freshmen and each one of them has contributed all season long. Each time the Mountaineers faced adversity, they grabbed it by the horns and took the helm.

The young ball club never got down on their coach, their teammates or themselves. They did the opposite and rallied together.

“Looks like we’ve gotten better,” Mazey said. “I think we are playing well now because of the way we handled it when we weren’t playing well. Nobody got down on anybody and everybody stayed positive and kept grinding. This game has a way of rewarding you when you do the right thing and we’ve done the right thing and now we are being rewarded for that.”

WVU finishes its homestand with a three-game series at Monongalia County Ballpark against William & Mary (24-23) with Friday’s doubleheader at 4 and 7 p.m. The finale is at 1 p.m. Sunday.

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