WVU resume good enough for the NCAAs

The WVU baseball team’s Big 12 Conference tournament run continued in dramatic fashion Friday night, as the Mountaineers rallied to eliminate top-seeded Texas Tech, 12-7, in 10 innings.

With that impressive triumph, the fourth-seeded Mountaineers’ NCAA resume keeps getting stronger.

Try this on for size: A 34-23 record, fourth-place finish in the Big 12 Conference and a top 20 RPI.

That should enough to punch WVU’s ticket to an NCAA regional for the first time since 1996.

Making a regional shouldn’t even be in question at this point. But we won’t know for certain until Monday afternoon, when the 64-team field is unveiled.

A year ago, the Mountaineers were on an airplane heading home when they learned their march to the Big 12 tournament championship game was not enough to salvage an NCAA regional bid.

That led to those “We’re on a mission” T-shirts the players have donned since fall practice.

“This group needs to play with an edge and play like they’re mad, and they need to be,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said in January.

“There was a whole group of people last year who told them they weren’t good enough. That’s a pretty good sign going into this year that they are out to prove to a lot of people how good they are.”

That mission of making a regional should finally be finished after two-plus decades.

“I feel pretty good about where we’re sitting right now,” Mazey said on the eve of the Big 12 tournament. “You don’t ever know for sure. We played in the best conference in the country and finished fourth.

“You look at all the other Power 5 conferences and all the other teams that finished fourth in those leagues, I feel pretty good about those guys getting in. I don’t count on it until you see your name come off the board.”

It will be special when WVU’s name comes off the board Monday because this has been a season like no other.

The Mountaineers suffered through enough injuries to fill up this column space but stuck together and gutted out some big victories over the last part of the regular season.

It would have been easy for them to write off the season after Conner Dotson’s season-ending broken arm and Michael Grove’s arm injury that has kept him off the mound since April 22.

Those injuries were difficult enough. WVU also lost promising freshmen pitchers Isaiah Kearns and Carter Camp for long stretches. Third baseman Cole Austin also missed some time after a ball hit him in the face during pregame warmups.

“This has been a year like no other,” Mazey said. “Being in the position we’re in right now in a normal year without the injuries you’d have to be pretty happy.

“With the injuries and adversity we’ve had to get to where we are right now, people have no idea how much we’ve accomplished this year.”

The Mountaineers are still in the mix for the Big 12 tourney title and are shaping up as one of those teams you don’t want to face in an NCAA regional. The rest of the season should be a lot of fun.

Todd Murray is a sports reporter for The Dominion Post. Writer to him at