Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

West Virginia center fielder Bobby Boyd tops the Big 12 with a .384 batting average and ranks third with 15 stolen bases.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. —With four Big 12 series remaining, West Virginia sits seventh in the conference standings but on the good side of the NCAA bubble, according to Baseball America writer Aaron Fitt.

He currently projects the Mountaineers as an at-large team, albeit one of the last ones in the field of 64.

“They’re still one of those teams that’s right on the edge,” Fitt told MetroNews “Statewide Sportsline” as West Virginia (21-16, 4-7) welcomes Kansas State (23-19, 4-8) for a weekend set.

As of Thursday night, Randy Mazey’s squad ranked 29th in the RPI, fourth-best in the Big 12. Though Fitt considers the RPI a “flawed metric,” the formula influences selection committee members and puts West Virginia in contention for its NCAA bid since 1996.

“The thing that’s really going for them is the RPI—they’re in pretty good shape there,” Fitt said. “But they’re still only 4-7 in the league. They do have some work to do. They have to finish strong, and there are no gimmies in this league.”

Fitt said the Mountaineers need to finish “close to .500 in the league” while maintaining a top-45 RPI.

While struggling through a recent seven-game losing skid, WVU appeared to be freefalling. The team’s fortunes have brightened during the past nine days, however, thanks to winning five of six.

“At this point in the season I feel really good about this team,” Mazey said.

Despite the turnaround, West Virginia is only a half-game in front of last-place Kansas State, the preseason pick to repeat as Big 12 champs.

“Don’t let that record fool you—that lineup of theirs from top-to-bottom is really good,” Mazey said. “They’re capable of scoring eight to 10 runs a game.”

The Wildcats’ team batting average of .298 tops the Big 12, as does their 6.4 runs per game and .399 on-base percentage. Dangerous on the basepaths, K-State tops the league with 75 steals in 88 attempts.

Table-setting second baseman Ross Kivett, the reigning Big 12 player of the year, paces the league in runs (42) and steals (17), while ranking sixth in batting (.340) and second in on-base percentage (.460).

West Virginia has a few player of the year candidates itself: Center fielder Bobby Boyd has a healthy lead for the batting title at .384, stands seciond in runs per game (.97) and is tied for third with 15 steals. Clean-up hitting first baseman Ryan McBroom stands tied for conference lead with 38 RBIs.

Mazey plans to start Harrison Musgrave (3-3, 2.18 ERA) on Friday, followed by John Means (5-1, 1.41 ERA) on Saturday. The all-lefties weekend rotation concludes with the rapidly improving Ross Vance (2-0, 3.00 ERA) taking the mound Sunday.

“We’ve got the pitching, and the offense is rolling right now,” McBroom said. “I think we can go out and win some games.”

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Comments

  • Joe

    Who won the game tonight?!

  • Artimus

    It's really nice to have a third WVU sport to follow now. I think many underestimate or underappreciate the history and the place that baseball has in West Virginia's culture. Mazey has done a great job....the part I like the best is he doesn't make any excuses and doesn't let his team buy into any of this "Big 12 travel" issue. Basically he has taken that whole Big 12 distance thing and flipped it to where it has become an advantage for WVU (i.e. adversity doesn't bother us, we thrive on it). Dana and Huggs should take notes.

  • cutty77

    Just a little early for this kind of talk. If i was Randy i would tell the press to shut up. Or a Better sentence would be. I don't even want to go there.

  • Rick55

    For those of you who may have missed last Thursday's WVU baseball telecast vs OK, Jay Payton the TV analyst, told a funny story about Rickey Henderson, the great major leaguer. I thought y'all might enjoy a bit of levity; bear with me.
    Rickey, who enjoyed referring to himself in the third person, had been playing in the majors for about fifteen years, when he got on the team bus to go from the hotel to the stadium. He took a seat in the back. A teammate said, "Go ahead and sit up front, Rickey, you've been around a long time... You have tenure...."
    "Rickey don't have tenure" said Rickey, "Rickey got about fifteen year!"

  • Rick55

    Aaron +1

  • jay zoom

    this team will get an NCAA berth take it to the bank. Mazey has done a fine job as coach that's more than we can say for wait until next year Dana and one and done Huggins. THANS OLLIE

  • Rick55

    We're close offensively, they might hit for higher average and steal more bases but we do that stuff well too.

    But we have some of the very best starting pitching in the country on weekends, and I'm guessing that with Carley our relief pitching will compete
    also.

    How's their defense? Are they used to the relentless pressure that we bring on the base paths? I'll put our defense up against anyone.

    I like our chances. Hope the crowd is large and loud. Should be exciting.

  • Aaron

    No, please don't say that. When the same thing was said of the basketball team, they fell apart.

    Keep playing them one game at a time and win the series. If you do that, you'll get in the NCAA's.

  • David Kennedy

    Congratulations, Cinderella.
    Now...sharpen up your spikes!

  • Mister Man

    Take it to 'em Mountaineers!!!!