MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — For most of the second half of the season, West Virginia appeared to be on the good side of the NCAA Tournament bubble with a solid record and an RPI consistently in the 30’s. When the field of 64 was announced Monday afternoon, WVU was not selected to the tournament.
“As hard as they worked, to not get recognized for their efforts is pretty disappointing,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said.
“We coach our kids to teach them life lessons off the field way more than lessons on the field. We can teach them how to steal second base and hit curve balls and throw changeups as much as we want, but it is times like these that they really need to be coached when you face huge disappointment and adversity. I feel like we had to do more coaching today than we have had to do all season because that’s the way we coach them.”
West Virginia entered the Big 12 Conference Tournament last Wednesday coming off a series sweep of Kansas State. However, losses to Oklahoma and Kansas State in the Big 12 Tournament dropped WVU’s RPI to 49.
A number of upsets in conference tournaments across the country allowed the NCAA Tournament bubble to shrink over the last few days. North Carolina State, Old Dominion, Rutgers and Wofford were listed as the “First Four Out” of the field.
“Going into [The Big 12 Tournament], our RPI was 35. We weren’t even considered one of the “Last Four In”. But as things unfolded it was literally everything that could go wrong did go wrong. We lost two games and the upsets that went on around the country in some of the games — I mean UCLA scored nine runs in the bottom of the ninth against Oregon State to pass us in the RPI.”
Disappointing to say the least. Super proud of this team and the season we had. Thank you to all the fans and everyone who supported us along the way. We’ll be back!!! @WVUBaseball
— McGwire Holbrook (@mcgwireh25) May 30, 2022
The Mountaineers (33-22) won 14 Big 12 games, their most since joining the league in 2013. West Virginia was hoping for their third NCAA Tournament appearance under head coach Randy Mazey, and their first since hosting a regional in 2019.
“I don’t think people realize how hard it is to go 14-10 as West Virginia in the Big 12 Conference. To do that, we accomplished a great deal. We are not going to let some committee of people who don’t know who we are tarnish our season.”
Five of the nine Big 12 Conference teams qualified for the field of 64. No. 7 Oklahoma State and No. 9 Texas earned national seeds and the right to host regional rounds. Big 12 Tournament champion Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech also qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Just three Mountaineers on this year’s roster have exhausted their college eligibility. Several first and second-year players were featured prominently in WVU’s lineup.
“We didn’t get the respect we deserve. So how do we turn that into a positive? I pulled a poker chip out of my pocket today and said, ‘This is how we are going to play next year’. And I put that chip on my shoulder. They have put us in a position now to play with a chip on our shoulder and to prove to people that we are better than everybody thinks we are.”