Breaking the Skid

West Virginia's baseball team is stuck in a funk of bad relief pitching and lack of clutch hitting. What can be done to break out of that deadly double play?

Mountaineer pitching coach Derek Matlock knows that his staff has the ability to get outs in the middle and late innings. He saw hurlers such as Corey Walter and Pascal Paul do so in 2013, but this year they've taken a step backward.

While the theme of "keep grinding" peppers Matlock's remarks, he also admits that he's never been through a stretch like this in his career, when just about every summons to the bullpen is followed by walks or a barrage of hits.

Matlock is also aware of the twin threats of frustration among his starters, who have pitched very well, and of a loss of confidence among his relievers. He's working to address both issues while trying to get some of the proven performers to bounce back to their 2013 level of production.

WVU centerfielder Bobby Boyd is all about the positive message. He's not ducking the fact that West Virginia hasn't driven home runs in Big 12 play (just ten runs in its last six conference games), but he does point out that the Mountaineer have had some good at-bats in that stretch. WVU had 12 hits against Oklahoma State on Saturday, but left 12 runners on base, pointing out the need for just one or two more clutch hits to get Mountaineer hitters a cushion.

Above all, Boyd (like teammate Sean Carley, who also commented on the mood of the squad after Saturday's game), thinks that WVU will continue to battle despite the current losing skid.

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