MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The expectations surrounding West Virginia’s baseball program weren’t supposed to accelerate this quickly, to a point where the NCAA selection show actually held drama. Even if the drama turned out to be the disappointing kind.

Yet there was coach Randy Mazey on Monday coping with enough dejection to fill a dugout. Memorial Day—the unofficial start of summer, the official end of his team’s season.

He had wanted fortifying news from the NCAA Division I baseball gatekeepers. What he received instead was a text from a committee member informing that the Mountaineers were the first team out.

“Although I appreciated him telling me that, it will probably be something I carry with me until we take the field again next February,” Mazey said.

“In the field of 64, the Mountaineers finished 65th.”

This wasn’t a certifiable snub that befell his team. It resided among a cluster of eight or nine teams who warranted level consideration for the final few regional bids. Yes, West Virginia’s 38 RPI was the best of any omitted team, but to lean heavily on such a flawed formula is to reduce the postseason to the domain of spreadsheets.

The math suggested WVU was pretty good. The 10 panelists decided Mazey’s team wasn’t quite good enough.

“I try and teach my guys sometimes life isn’t fair and you’ve got to deal with things you perceive as unfair,” said the coach. “If I don’t handle this the right way, how in the world am I going to expect them to?

“I’m just going to use it as fuel and motivation for next season.”

Next season will be Mazey’s third in Morgantown, and West Virginia’s third in the talent-rich Big 12. Under his brief watch, the Mountaineers have finished third and sixth in the conference. Mind you, this is a program that in the 13 years pre-Mazey averaged only a seventh-place finish in the less-imposing Big East.

That stands as proof of improvement, even though West Virginia’s 18-year NCAA dry spell continues. Voices from the past concur.

“I can’t believe it’s been 18 years,” said Jeremy Cummings, a 10-year minor-leaguer who pitched on the last NCAA team in 1996. “But the way Coach Mazey is running that program, he’s righting the ship.

“I think he’s an awesome person who motivates kids and teaches them about baseball and manhood. Every time I’ve been around him I learned something.”

Next season also brings the debut of a new ballpark—one that actually boasts the triple-crown of locker rooms, a clubhouse and indoor plumbing. (Players won’t soon be nostalgic for those port-o-lets behind the dugouts at Hawley Field.)

“The pinnacle of this program will come after we’ve had three or four recruiting classes that can actually walk through that new stadium,” Mazey said.

With back-to-back winning seasons, WVU baseball has rapidly climbed toward respectable environs, no longer content to live among the dozens of middling northern programs. There’s a satisfying undertone to the turnaround produced by Mazey and his players, no matter how much Monday’s near-miss gnawed at them.

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  • Mister Man

    Aight den.

  • Kevin SMith

    How do you write this story and never mention what the team's record is, overall or in conference?

  • william

    Mid season - 7 game losing streak
    Won only one game out of last ten games
    Finish big 12 record at 9-14
    Baseball was a BIG FAILURE
    But some fans will continue to drink the KOOL-AID
    Isn't it great to be in a conf. that doesn't make any sense.

    • hailey

      Sad?...Who's sad William besides your parents for that little mistake they made years ago that we now must all pay for. Time to grow up li'l man

    • John

      That's a big time analysis on your part. If you don't like WVU sports, which you obviously don't considering your posts, quit reading and/or caring. Believe it or not, the athletic department will not shut down or change because of you and your constant bashing.

  • cutty77

    WVU can't finish the way WVU did. I said several weeks ago,when people started talking about The NCAA,it was the kiss of death. Randy should know better to. It ain't over till its over. I hope Randy will remember it too. I'm sure he will learn from This.

    • John

      Why was it wrong to say anything? RPI; SOS; etc. is all public knowledge and anyone, including Coach Mazey or his players, could look them up and see what is happening. Talking about it publicly had absolutely nothing to do with how they finished. Line drives were going right at fielders and borderline pitches did not go our way. That's baseball. Unfortunately, the season is too short in college to overcome a 1-9 finish and have a 7 game losing streak in the middle. They played well but it wasn't meant to be. Next year hopefully will be different.

  • Mountaineer Fanatic

    I am looking forward to 2015 in all sports. We will be in our third year with the Big 12 and we will be a lot better all the way around.
    First with football. I am really looking forward to meeting William Crest. I believe he will be the starter and he will shock a lot of people. I know we can beat Alabama and I am looking forward to the Mountaineers playing them to the very best of their ability. LETS GOOOO MOUNTAINEERS!!!!!! Please play all four quarters

  • WVcoal

    Mountaineers are competitive, resilient, and tough-minded. Being 65 of 64 teams selected for the NCAA tournament will only strengthen their resolve to win championships. Mountaineers will dust themselves off and come back next year with fierce intensity and desire to win.
    Let's Go Mountaineers!

  • AJ

    Really great to see Randy Mazey handle the snub with honor and class. Very professional. He knows his team let this one slip away. Even though we potentially lose a good core I have a feeling the new ballpark will make for a magical 2015.

  • Randy

    There are so many people who have nothing good to say about WVU sports in any capacity. If you people are so miserable with the program, go support another team. Yes its your right to voice your opinion, but its getting old.

  • WVU Guy

    A few years ago, few people cared anything about WVU baseball. Many didn't even know that we had a team. Now we get upset if we don't make the NCAA playoff. Our baseball program is definitely on the rise. And I think we can attribute that to being a member of the Big XII Conference. Good competition not only sparks good play, but it also stimulates fan interest.

  • Thom

    Screwed again!!

    • Big Hooptie

      Losing 9 of last 10 is not being "screwed."

      • hailey

        It's called screwing yourself, or pulling a William know failing when it counts the most

  • william

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

    • Fiscal Conservative

      The program is improving, just look at the talent level of the players. The program is in much better hands now. Van Zant was an arrogant ass and snubbed a lot of in state talent for sub par pa kids. I went to a tryout with a high school team are of mine, pat white and and 7 kids from new York and pa. He signed 5 guys, 3 of them pitchers like myself. On that day I had the highest average fastball velocity at 92.4 mph, my team are was second and had 3 plus pitches. Neither of us signed that day and were instead passed up for the out of stare guys. In the end we both reached at least AA ball just a few years later after going to community colleges in the south.

    • mike w

      You are by far the most negative person on here. Do all WVU fans a favor and become a Marshall fan.

    • Bandit

      Really William....Holgy stopped answering your love letters, so you've decided to pick on Coach Mazey. Since you seem to be the god of all sports at WVU, I expect to see your backside out there coaching next year. Besides your mom would appreciate you getting out of her basement.

      • Kiddkornbred

        Vanzandt is who was screwed. They fired him then added scholarships and resources forMazey

        • John

          You are joking right? VanZant ran the program into the ground. Talk to the parents on this year's team and ask them how Mazey coaches them vs. the prior regime. It's No Contest and it has not one thing to do with resources or number of scholarships. WVU played away from home 75-80% and a baseball team is only allowed 13 scholarships in total for all players. If VanZant didn't use what was given, that's another reason it isn't around any more.

    • ViennaGuy

      And how successful was Greg Van Zant in all of his years at the helm of a team in a conference that was much less competitive? Uh, let's see here, he went to the NCAA tournament all of ONCE?

  • Chef Camille

    Booth Goodwin would be proud if he had any idea who COACH MAZEY is.

  • David Kennedy

    This team got me excited about WVU baseball.
    I thought they were an average team that showed great defense...great pitching...even miracle pitching at times and their bullpen was a short one, too.
    At least two of the players will see action in the Pro's.
    An average team who rose high above being average many times.
    The coaching was the clutches, there was no sign of weakness or failure.
    Next year will be greater...this team is recognized as on the rise and new blood will want to play with us in Morgantown.
    I'm hoping with the new ball park, a lot more of the games will be home games.
    This team was well worth my money to see and I look forward to next years journey...
    GO WVU...

  • Dave

    Fire Luck, Huggs & Holgs... It's their fault!!!

  • wrf

    I'm tired of people berating our Mountaineers, especially those who know little about baseball. or as a matter of fact, little about sports. Negativity builds nothing.Stand up for the eers or shut up!!!!