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After WVU narrowly missed an NCAA regional bid Monday, the roster could need retooling for 2015. Ace left-hander Harrison Musgrave is among five West Virginia juniors who could be drafted this summer.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Hoping to receive an NCAA regional bid, West Virginia’s baseball team was left instead with an unsatisfying parting gift.

The selection committee revealed the Mountaineers (28-26) were among the first four teams left out of the tournament, emphasizing the razor-thin margin by which the season ended. A gap so narrow that perhaps one more win somewhere along the line could have made the difference.

While a 1-9 closing stretch certainly doomed West Virginia, there were numerous near-misses throuhout an up-and-down season. Trace back to the season opener in Charleston, S.C., where WVU led Louisville by two runs in the eighth inning only to fall 7-6 on a walkoff in the 10th. That same Louisville club will be hosting one of 16 NCAA regionals this week.

Even more painful was a Friday night game at TCU on April 4, in which the Mountaineers carried a 3-1 lead to the bottom of the ninth. The Frogs mounted a three-run rally on just two hits to win that one, sparking a sweep.

In total, West Virginia lost seven one-run games to NCAA tournament teams:

Date Opponent Final
Feb. 14
vs. Louisville
L, 7-6 (10)
Feb. 22
at San Diego State L, 2-1 (10)
March 11
at UNLV L, 4-3
April 4
at TCU L, 4-3
May 11
at Kansas L, 9-8
May 16
at Texas Tech L, 4-3 (10)
May 17
at Texas Tech L, 3-2

 

Had even one of those losses turned out differently, it might have been enough to boost West Virginia into the field of 64.

The Mountaineers finished with an RPI of 38, higher than seven teams that received at-large bids: Arizona State (40), North Carolina (41), Texas A&M, (42) UC Irvine (43), Stanford (44), Kansas (47) and Clemson (49). And remember, West Virginia beat the Tar Heels 5-1 in Chapel Hill on March 19.

As for bad losses, there was the 8-4 setback at Penn State on April 8: The Nittany Lions (18-32) finished at the bottom of the Big Ten and No. 232 i the RPI.

So that’s 18 years and counting since West Virginia last reached an NCAA regional, with the most recent disappointment heightened by the fact WVU owned a 27-17 on May 6 and seemed to be in prime position to end the drought.

Yet despite failing to reach the NCAA tournament, coach Randy Mazey’s first two seasons in Morgantown are enveloped with an air of over-achievement. Last year’s team was picked ninth in the Big 12 and finished third. This season’s squad was picked seventh and finished sixth.

Next season the program christens a new 2,500-seat stadium in Westover, a $21 million project that will be among the Big 12’s ballparks.

“West Virginia baseball is on the rise,” said senior first baseman Ryan McBroom. “The recruiting is going to be pretty ridiculous with the new stadium.”

But with the departure of players such as McBroom—who topped the team in homers and RBIs—the roster could require heavy retooling. Ace left-hander Harrison Musgrave turned down a 33rd-round offer from the Phillies last summer but might go higher this time. Right-hander Sean Carley, a 34th-round pick of the Padres despite sitting out the 2013 season as a transfer, also should see his stock rise.

Junior left-hander John Means, who essentially became the team’s No. 2 starter when Carley shifted to the bullpen, also figures to be drafted. That means Mazey may need to replace all three of the pitchers from this season’s Big 12 opening-weekend rotation.

Center fielder Bobby Boyd and second baseman Billy Fleming—two juniors who, along with McBroom, combined to finish 1-2-3 in Big 12 hitting—should also attract draft attention.

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Comments

  • Mr.P

    If you lose a game by only 1 point you might as well lose by a 100 you still LOST!!

  • Mr.P

    Joining the Big 12 is all about the money,it doesn't matter what your record is anymore,ask Ollie

    • Ed

      Very true Mr P and as soon as something else better comes along Ollie will hit the dusty trail out of town leaving the financial mess to someone else to figure out!!

    • John

      Your point? And what does this have to do with the baseball program? It's not a positive revenue sport and their record sure does trump anything the football or basketball teams have done over the past 2 years.

  • WVUALLTHEWAY

    Gotta love arm-chair coaches. You guys can't see the forest because of the trees. WVU baseball is on the rise, and I applaud Coach Mazey's efforts in helping these guys to become better players, and more importantly, better men. They represent the state well, and to me, that is more important than any tournament berth.

  • John

    To the couple of posters on this site, if you don't like WVU sports, then simply don't follow them. To say the baseball season was a failure and mediocre is so short-sighted, it's ridiculous.

    The days of VanZant and that group are over. If he had stayed at WVU, the baseball team may have won 30 games total the past 2 years instead of averaging 30 W's a season. Give Mazey a break as he took a doldrum program and have made them relevant in a top baseball conference in less than 2 years.

    I don't know how many of the draft eligible players will come back. Certainly not all will return but I don't think all will leave either. Anybody from that core plus the recruits Mazey has his eyes on and the new facilities only brings hope to those who follow and appreciate WVU baseball.

    Let's congratulate WVU for even being mentioned for the NCAA and let's keep supporting this team as they open up a stadium that will be hard pressed to beat anywhere east of the Mississippi.

  • TruthTeller

    Welcome to the Big 12 WVU fans. Remember when WVU was not controlled and told they must lose because only the bigger schools are allowed to win? Those were the good old days. Those control freak rich people can't stand for their alumni to lose like the spoiled little rich kids they use to be. WVU should leave the Big 12 conference. They will never allow WVU to win anything in this conference. WVU is treated like a red headed step child in this Big 12 conference.

  • william

    WVU baseball season was a failure!
    Fans now are use to mediocre -
    Fans now call MEDIOCRE a great season.
    How said is that?

    • ViennaGuy

      And Van Zant was better? I don't think so.

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Razor thin is an apt description of Wvu's failed chance to land an at-large bid to get in the tournament . I didn't think it would be that close . This is like losing a major golf tournament by 1 shot . You spend days thinking about every hole and every shot and how things could have ended differently. You also wonder if you will ever be in position to get in the tournament ever again . Hunter of BlueandGold said the team could lose 12 of its top 13 players if the juniors decide to turn pro . The new ballpark ( save the surface ) will certainly help recruiting . Which brings me to suggest this - why not bring the B12 tournament to Morgantown next year for one year ? Tell me why this is a bad idea ? Have you seen all the empty seats in Oklahoma ? Allen all but said that our new ball park will be among the best in the B12 ( in a typo he left out the word "best" - we have all done that before ) . So why not Morgantown ? We are not a Junior member in the B12 - we are a full fledged member with full credentials . Luck should work on this . I think all the games would be sold out . I don't care about location , nobody says that about us when we have to travel 800 miles to our nearest competitor in the B12. Bring the tournament to Morgantown for 2015 .

  • Aaron

    Well, we now know that the RPI is not the end all be all in baseball. Politics and win/loss are clearly more important. To achieve a #38 RPI with 25 losses is impressive but clearly not enough so for people who say that it is.

    Coach Mazey needs to schedule more home games with lower tier teams while mixing in a few old rivalries and playing tough in the Big 12.

    Of Musgrave, Means and Carley while all three can pitch in lower level minor leagues, they would see just as good competition by staying in college and playing in a summer league and completing their education as opposed to riding buses playing small town Class A ball.

    Unless they're top 5 rounds they're not going to get any bonus money and what little they do receive will not make up for the degree they're walking away from.

    If everyone comes back who can, this will be a very talented team next year.

    All and all, it's still a great day to be a Mountaineer. Congratulations WV Bassball on a successful season.

  • Matt

    WV is not building a new stadium in Westover, the park is located in Granville. They are putting in a new exit off I-79 between the Westover and Star City exit.

    • Mike

      Westover or Granville doesn't matter as long as the ballpark is not run by the incompetent local government of either municipality.

  • Abbagoochie

    Typical wvu sport team. Cant win when it counts or the big one. The football team does it every year. A big ol choke is their trademark.

    • 4mounties

      Amen, every WV sports team chokes when it matters. I'm tired of all the bad news these past few years. I'm about to give up.

      • LowRider

        The WVU baseball teams has improved dramatically since the days of Greg VanZant. A great effort by WVU this year. Next year we will be NCAA bound. Thanks to Coach Mazey for turning the program around. And to the above posters…Marshall is looking for a couple of fans just like you.

  • CaptainQ

    Oh well, WVU had it's chances, but in the end, didn't win the games they should've during the finishing stretch of the season.

    Better luck, next year?

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Man, we came that close.

  • Cel

    You can't lose 9 of your last 10 and earn respect.

    • WVU Guy

      Absolutely correct. I never thought we would get an invite after that miserable end of season run.