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Mazey walks off a winner in final home game as head coach, Mountaineers take series from KSU, 12-5

(Photo gallery by Teran Malone)

GRANVILLE, W.Va. — Randy Mazey knew this day was coming and there has been no shortage of people reminding him about it.

“Everybody asked me about, ‘Has it hit you yet? Has it hit you yet?’ It hit me today,” Mazey said.

“Look at this place. Twelve years ago, West Virginia was thinking about dropping the baseball program. And look what it has turned into.”

A day of ceremony and celebration at Kendrick Family Ballpark was capped by a 12-5 win for West Virginia to secure a series victory over Kansas State in Mazey’s final home game as the leader of the Mountaineers. The 12th-year head coach is set to retire following this season.

(Photo by Teran Malone)

“This is the team that I wanted to retire with. This is an unbelievable team, unbelievable kids. For them to go out and play the way they did today, knowing this was my last game on this field, I just can’t thank them enough. They played a great game,” Mazey said.

“I never asked them one time to do it for me. I never wanted this day to be about me. They showed up to play. I think they knew that I really wanted to sing ‘Country Roads’ in my last home game ever on this field. That was gift from them I will never forget.”

In front of 3,232 fans, the Mountaineers capped their regular season home schedule with a 17-6 record at Wagener Field.

After dropping Friday’s series opener, 4-3, the Mountaineers took two out of three games in the series by scoring 25 wins on Saturday and Sunday. WVU took a 3-0 lead through two innings courtesy of a Reed Chumley RBI double, a solo home run from Benjamin Lumsden and a run-scoring double from Logan Sauve.

Leading 3-1 in the fourth inning, junior shortstop JJ Wetherholt connected for his sixth home run of the season to extend WVU’s cushion to 6-1. Wetherholt, projected to be one of the top picks in the MLB Draft this summer, likely played his final game in Granville.

WVU shortstop JJ Wetherholt (Photo by Teran Malone)

“To see what he has developed and turned into, he is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of player,” Mazey said. “It was just an honor to say that he and I shared our last year together.”

Inserted into the weekend pitching rotation, junior left-hander Tyler Switalski delivered a quality start. He allowed three earned runs [five total] in five innings while striking out five batters. The five-inning outing tied a season-best.

“[Mazey] has come up to me after every outing, whether it is good or bad, and just instilled confidence in me,” Switalski said. “That has allowed me to stay in a groove and just get better and better every day.”

“He pitched great and we are going to need him to do that again,” Mazey said.

As they did on Saturday, West Virginia broke the game open in the late innings. K-State trimmed an eight-run deficit to four with a four-run sixth inning. However, the Mountaineers scored three runs in their final two frames at the plate to pull away.

Wetherholt led WVU with four runs batted in. Sauve and Sam White each had three hits. Skylar King connected for his sixth home run of the season.

(Photo by Teran Malone)

In relief of Switalski, Carson Estridge tossed three frames and Joseph Fredericks finished the game off in the ninth.

West Virginia (31-19, 17-10 Big 12) will not play Tuesday. A potential addition to their schedule was discussed but the Mountaineers are off until Thursday when they open their final Big 12 series of the year at TCU. The team will remain in Texas for the start of the Big 12 Conference Tournament nine days from now. WVU stands tied for third place in the league with Texas. Oklahoma clinched the league’s regular season title on Sunday.

“Oh by the way, that is a huge series win for us to keep us in the hunt for the postseason. After all the show tunes and the dog and pony show, it was really good win for us,” Mazey said.

“I told them that when this day is over and they take their jersey off, it is time to start getting ready to play TCU next weekend because we still have a ton to play for.”

“This weekend was a must-win. I feel like the boys came together and everything worked out great,” Switalski said. “Obviously, next weekend is just as big. We just need to keep rolling and have a good weekend at TCU.”





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