CONWAY, S.C. — Though a 2-5 start wasn’t what Randy Mazey envisioned, the West Virginia baseball coach knows February frustrations haven’t defined his previous clubs.
“We’ve got a good team that’s not playing well right now, but we’ll figure that out,” he said Sunday after the Mountaineers suffered their third loss in four games at the Brittain Resorts Invitational.
“This time of year, it’s all about getting better every day. It would be nice to win games while you’re doing it, but you learn a lot more about your team when you don’t win then when you do win.”
Coastal Carolina beat West Virginia 5-2 in the tournament finale, a game ended by Ivan Gonzalez grounding out with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Last year’s closer, Braden Zarbnisky (0-1), made his first start since May 2016 and struck out six batters over three innings while allowing two runs, one of which was unearned.
West Virginia eventually trailed 4-0 against Coastal Carolina starter Anthony Veneziano (1-0) until the seventh when Jimmy Galusky and Kyle Gray led off with back-to-back homers.
The Chanticleers, who improved to 6-2, tacked on an insurance run against Connor Dotson in the bottom half of the seventh before the ninth inning turned dramatic.
Freshman reliever Shaddon Peavhouse, finishing up a three-inning stint in which he threw 50 pitches, allowed singles to Galusky and Brandon White before walking Zarbnisky. That brought up Gonzalez, whose 7-for-18 weekend tournament ended with a ground ball to third.
Kevin Brophy went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts after homering four times in Saturday’s doubleheader.
Sophomore right-hander Isaiah Kearns relieved Zarbnisky, yielding a sac-fly in the fourth and Seth Lancaster’s solo homer in the fifth.
It marks the fourth time in Mazey’s six seasons that West Virginia has a losing record through seven games, but none of those teams ultimately finished below .500.
“We aren’t playing great right now on all three sides of the ball all at the same time, but there were a lot of bright spots this weekend,” Mazey said. “Some guys that we didn’t expect to swing the bats well are swinging the bats well, and we’re starting to learn a little bit more about our pitchers.”
The Mountaineers open a three-game series at Western Kentucky on Friday.