Baseball, Sports, WVU Sports

David Hagaman gets his first college start, as WVU plays Texas Tech in first round of Big 12 tournament

MORGANTOWN — It would seem Wednesday’s Big 12 tournament will be played under the bright lights in Las Vegas rather than Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas.

Because WVU head baseball coach Randy Mazey is about to roll the dice.

If there was ever a must-win game for the No. 21 Mountaineers, it just may be their first-round match-up against Texas Tech, scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. (ESPN+)

The Big 12 tourney is double-elimination, with the WVU-Texas Tech winner advancing to play the Oklahoma State-Oklahoma winner at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

The losers of those two games will meet in an elimination game at 1:30 p.m. Thursday.


Despite WVU (39-16) winning a share of its first Big 12 regular-season title, it still dropped 15 spots in the weekly rankings and went from a possible No. 1 seed to No. 3 in the conference tournament after losing three straight against No. 20 Texas last week.

Along the way, what was once thought to be an afterthought of WVU hosting one of the 16 NCAA regionals is now in doubt.

With all of that in mind, Mazey is handing the ball to redshirt freshman David Hagaman to start today’s game against the Red Raiders (37-19), the No. 6 seed.

It will be Hagaman’s first career collegiate start.

“He’s pitched great,” Mazey said. “There’s a lot of variables involved. I think we need to get off to a really good start and try to get into the middle of a game and have a chance to win it.”

Hagman (1-1, 2.30 ERA) has been the Mountaineers’ top middle reliever all season, allowing just 16 hits in 31 1/3 innings, while also striking out 31 hitters.

As far as variables, WVU’s top starters — Ben Hampton and Blaine Traxel — both struggled in the Texas series, allowing a combined 12 runs in just 5 1/3 innings. Hampton threw just 28 pitches in his start Saturday.

Other than against Texas, both starters have been anchors all season, and Mazey said he hasn’t lost confidence in either one.

“I have all the faith in the world in our guys,” Mazey said. “There’s a lot that goes into it with match-ups and trying to stay in it for four or five days if you can and what you’ve got to do to try and get a host spot. There’s a ton of different variables. We met as a coaching staff (Monday) and figured this would be our best chance to win the first game.”

WVU took two-of-three against Texas Tech earlier this month at Mon County Ballpark, outscoring the Red Raiders 24-10 in the series.

Hagaman will face the conference’s highest-scoring team with the league’s best power hitter in first baseman Gavin Kash (23 HR, 79 RBI).

Hagaman pitched in relief in one game against the Red Raiders, going 3 2/3 innings, while allowing no hits or runs.

“They have a very-dynamic offense, but we held them to 10 runs in the series,” Mazey said. “We pitched really well against a dangerous team. We’ve got to try and do the same thing and limit that offense as much as we can.”

While WVU dropped in the national rankings, the Mountaineers could still get themselves in position to host a NCAA regional with a good showing in the Big 12 tournament.

“I’m not in that room with those committee members and I don’t know what they talk about,” Mazey said. “All we can do is just go and try to win each game that we play. If we do well enough and somebody feels like we’re worthy of playing in Morgantown, then we’ll play in Morgantown.”

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