OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Disheartened by his team’s untimely three-week slump, Randy Mazey fretted what could be “a miserable summer” should West Virginia fail to make the NCAA field.

The Mountaineers certainly endured a miserable exit from the Big 12 tournament.

Their bats neutered by Baylor freshman Nick Lewis, their psyche dented by seeing the go-ahead run erased on a blown call, and their defense culpable for fueling Baylor’s five-run seventh, the Mountaineers sustained a 9-4 elimination loss Friday afternoon.

After dropping two of three games and batting just .252 in a tournament meant to bolster their postseason hopes, West Virginia awaits Monday’s unveiling of the NCAA baseball bracket having gone 1-9 in their last 10 games.

“If this is our last game, it’s going to make for a miserable summer, that’s for sure,” Mazey said.

“Just like in boxing and MMA, they tell you don’t leave it in the hands of the judges, and that’s what we’ve done at this point. Hopefully they’ll look at our entire body of work and not just the last week or two.”

“Just like in boxing and MMA, they tell you don’t leave it in the hands of the judges, and that’s what we’ve done at this point. Hopefully they look at our entire body of work and not just the last week or two.” — WVU coach Randy Mazey

Sixth-seeded West Virginia (28-26) sported a No. 33 RPI as of Friday night, a ranking that doesn’t portend to fluctuate much before the selection committee finalizes its 64 bids.

Seventh-seeded Baylor (26-30) may have played spoiler thanks to a surprising effort from Lewis (3-2), who was making only his third start after spending much of the spring in the bullpen. Recovering from a long first-inning homer by Billy Fleming, the right-hander limited West Virginia to two runs on two hits over a career-high six innings.

“He stepped up for his ball club, being a freshman and all that,” Fleming said. “We just didn’t have it today with the sticks.”

Lewis fanned five, walked three and retired 13 of 15 hitters in one stretch.

“For him to perform that well as a freshman against a really good veteran offense in an elimination game is pretty special,” said Baylor coach Steve Smith.

Lewis’ 99th and final pitch resulted in the game’s most controversial play.

With the score tied at 2 in the sixth and Ryan McBroom stationed on first, Jacob Rice yanked a two-out double into the left-field corner. Mazey waved McBroom home, where the big first baseman was called out after a perfect relay throw from shortstop Bret Doe. Video replays, however, appeared to show catcher Nate Goodwin unable to make the tag as McBroom slid.

Baylor capitalized on that momentum in its ensuing at-bat, striking for five runs on only three hits. All the runs came at the expense of West Virginia’s Ross Vance (3-4), who lost for the fourth straight outing but deserved better.

With the bases loaded and one out, Vance induced a grounder by Joe Sabatini—what should have been WVU’s fourth double play of the game. But shortstop Taylor Munden tossed the ball into right field, the Mountaineers’ second error of the inning, and two go-ahead runs scored.

Baylor tacked on another run with a safety squeeze before reliever Sean Carley inherited a bases-loaded scenario and allowed two more runs by issuing a walk and hit batter.

Vance, who had surrendered solo homers to Doe and Aaron Dobson, was charged with seven runs, four earned, on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

“A couple mistakes hurt me today, and I wasn’t able to pick it up,” said Vance.

Though his fastball rarely touches the mid-80s, the left-hander noticed his velocity was especially lacking.

“A couple miles per hour helps me be able to stick it inside sometimes and keep hitters off-balance,” he said.

Baylor, which ranked at the bottom of the Big 12 with a .232 team average, added more eighth-inning insurance against Carley on Logan Brown’s two-run triple.

In the ninth, West Virginia’s pinch-hitters produced two runs on an RBI single Ray Guerrini and Justin Fox’s sac-fly. But that wasn’t nearly enough to save the Mountaineers, who led for only six of 27 innings in Oklahoma City.

“I really hope we get the opportunity to play another game with this squad,” said Carley. “We’re pretty tight, so this loss hits home for us. We’ll see in the coming days how it all plays out.”


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Comments

  • David Kennedy

    I'm very pleased with this years team...They won a lot of games and had a lot of tremendous plays. At least two players will get a good look at the Pro's...and next year will be here in a hurry...and in the new park.
    This team was Average and played above that several times.
    Baseball is a game of learning incredible mental skills...that will come in a better way next year too.
    The Coaching was great...in the clutches there was no weakness seen...
    Looking for some great athletes to join the ranks...maybe, a transfer or two from the east or south.
    My salute to the pitchers who came through in every inning to do a miracle job...
    You were worth my money and I'm excited about next year to no end...
    thank you...
    you did your best and that was good enough for me.

  • TruthTeller

    I told you zombies this would happen. WVU is being controlled by the higher ups. WVU should
    of not joined the Big 12. More money but less success. Those bigger conferences have too many rich people controlling the out come of the
    success. Why do you think the same teams win the conference championships every single year?
    DUH!!!! The gig is up. Its all fixed anymore. College sports has been ruined by too much money being involved.

  • John

    Doubt WVU makes the field of 64 but the season has been a success. Last year, they snuck up on people and this year, the Big 12 knew this team was not a patsy. To go over .500 again is a great accomplishment and the future remains bright.

    The last season swoon was simply the maddening game baseball can be. Line drives start finding gloves instead of open grass and pitches that were on the corner were just off the plate. The college season simply is not long enough to have a 1-9 stretch and have others consider you a good team. I think WVU has the players and talent to play in any regional this year but a 28-26, even with a good RPI, will not be enough.

    You can blame Coach Mazey but the players see what is happening and know their RPI & SOS without him talking about it to reporters. It is the breaks of the game. Hopefully, the committee will consider WVU played 75% of their games on the road; played in an excellent conference and still had a winning record. We all find out tomorrow.

  • Capt. Obvious

    What rhymes with "croaking frogs"?

    Choking dogs!

    How can the Committee ignore a 1-9 finish?

    They can't.

  • Mister Man

    I'm disappointed with our finish, but I love those print uniforms.

  • Robin

    I have waited all year to say this. I hate those stupid print uniforms. Get some real uniforms and may you will act like baseball players.

    Okay bring on the hate.

  • Mister Man

    I'm very disappointed.

  • Rick55

    I don't disagree that the last game was the worst game of the season, nor that the stretch run was disappointing. I also agree that the fans should visit responsibility upon the manager for losses as well as credit for wins. Fans and the media are predisposed to focus on the RPI, and at this point so is Mazey.
    But I think attributing the "collapse" to Mazey's telling his team every day about their exact RPI ranking is overdrawn.

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    1 - 9 down the stretch is disappointing . The tournament didn't help much and the last game may have been the worst performance of the year . All said , this team won't get an NCAA bid and doesn't deserve one . Mazey may or may not be a good manager - only time will tell - but the collapse down the stretch has to be put on him . If he had won 9 of 10 wouldn't we be lauding him as a great manager ? So he must own the losing streak as well . So why did this happen ? In my opinion it all started when Mazey started to peak at the RPI every day . Because when you have an unhealthy predisposition about the RPI it ends up putting up too much pressure on your team . You tell your team everyday what the RPI is and how we have to win "this " game and how "this " game will help or hurt our RPI . All of a sudden every game is the 7th game of the World Series . No wonder the team became mentally and emotionally exhausted and stumbled down the stretch .

  • Rick55

    The baseball team has a better record over the last two years in the Big12 than most years under Van Zant in the Big East.

    Congratulations to the baseball team for an exciting and competitive year. Tournament or no, win or lose, they showed a lot of character. There were a few games when we did not compete (as do all teams), but overall we fought hard, got our share of big wins, and ended up as one of the best RPI teams in the country. Even in the Big12, we took at least 2 of 3 from Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas, and KState.

    With the new stadium and a great coach, the future of WVU baseball is bright indeed.

  • Aaron

    Whether or not this team makes the NCAA's or not is still on doubt. What is not is that WV Baseball is much improved over the Van Zant/Big East days. Only an average Fan would desire to return to that status.

    Competitive in all sports with improved academic standards and increased revenues, WVU certainly has a bright future in the Big 12.

    Congratulations to the Mointaineer baseball team on an outstanding season.

  • uncle phil

    We just don't belong in the Big 12.

    • Mitch

      @ uncle phil,

      You don't still belong in your mommy's basement, but...there you are.

    • Charles

      Oh, grow up! We certainly can play with the Big12. Quit whining.