Late Slide Leads to WVU Missing Field

As Randy Mazey sat at down for his press conference at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City following what ended up being his team's final loss of the season, he quickly began lobbying for his team to the NCAA selection committee.

His West Virginia team entered Monday's NCAA tournament selection announcement ranked No. 38 in the RPI with 13 wins against top-100 opponents.

"If we don't get in I'm sure there are going to be a lot of teams behind us in the RPI that do get in," Mazey said. "If we don't get in, maybe the RPI isn't the best indicator of who should get in.

And when the dust settled Monday and the field was selected, the Mountaineers found themselves on the outside looking in, and were listed among the first four teams out of the bracket.

Among the at-large teams in the field, eight of them were ranked lower than WVU in the RPI, with the lowest of those teams (Cal State Fullerton) coming in at No. 54. In the end, the Mountaineers' 28 wins, and especially a late-season meltdown in which they lost nine of their final 10 games, proved to be not enough to earn their first bid since 1996.

At the end of the day, the Mountaineers know they have no one to blame but themselves.

"We know we put ourselves in a tough position. This slide on the back end of the season really hurt us. We were pretty solid in there," said WVU closer Sean Carley. "It's unfortunate. It really hits home a little bit for us."

Just a few weeks ago, it looked as if West Virginia was well on its way to securing a bid pretty easily. The Mountaineers rebounded from a seven-game losing streak by winning 11 of their next 13, including a series win against Texas. Many national experts projected WVU, at that point, to be a No. 2 or 3 seed in a regional. But then the final losing skid put a nail in the coffin and ended WVU's season.

It was an accumulation of a bunch of things that just didn't go our way. We just couldn't put it together," Carley said. "There were some games where we'd pitch well but wouldn't hit well or we'd hit well and didn't pitch. It's obviously a downer for us, but we have to keep our heads up."

Friday's loss to Baylor proved to be the final game of the season for the Mountaineers and the last game in the WVU careers of eight seniors, and potentially for a few underclassmen like Carley and others who could hear their names called in this year's MLB draft.

That realization left a sour taste in the Mountaineers' mouths, knowing that if a few things had gone their way down the stretch it could have ended much differently.

"You put in so much work in the offseason and you go through everything and have the expectations for ourselves that we had when we started the season, then to watch it just slip through your fingers is pretty tough," Carley said.

"We can't blame anyone but ourselves for the way we played at the end of the season."

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