West Virginia's baseball program seems to have everything going for it. Rising from a moribund position in the Big East, the team has been immediately competitive, and narrowly missed out on an NCAA at-large tournament berth in 2014. While that doesn't match those programs who have made postseason trips recently, the ascension curve, coupled with the excitement of a new baseball venue slated to open next spring, gives this program the most progress and momentum over the past couple of seasons.
There is still much work to be done on the field, including building and rebuilding the pitching staff and finding a way to win a few more on the road. Those concerns are valid, but it's tough to ignore the progress made since Year One of the Randy Mazey era.
Greg Hunter: (7th) The Mountaineer baseball program has certainly made strides in its two seasons under the tutelage of Randy Mazey. It finished 28-26 this past year against arguably the most difficult schedule in program history and fell just a win or two short of earning its first NCAA tournament berth since 1996. WVU has said goodbye to antiquated Hawley Field, as a brand-new ballpark is being constructed and should be ready by next spring. Mazey will enter that new stadium with a revamped roster, as most of his top players from this past season are headed to the pro ranks. West Virginia has shown it can be competitive, even in a powerful league like the Big 12, and the hope is that the improved facilities will allow Mazey to attract the type of baseball recruit who will help the Mountaineers take the next step and become an NCAA tournament qualifier.
Matt Keller: (5th) The team failed to reach the NCAA Tournament for the 18th straight season, but has shown signs of life and was one to two victories away from securing a bid in inarguably the toughest conference in the nation. The Big 12 recently advanced four of its five NCAA teams to the Super Regional Round of 16, the most of any league in the country.
Michael Carvelli: (4th) The first two seasons under Randy Mazey have resulted in some of the best WVU baseball seasons in recent memory. The Mountaineers have shown that they can compete with the nation’s top programs, although they still find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to making an NCAA regional. Next year will be big for Mazey and his staff as the program tries to move on after losing a class of seniors who have contributed a lot, as well as potentially losing a few underclassmen to the MLB draft.
Kevin Kinder: (5th) If any program benefited from recent momentum more than baseball, it would be difficult to identify. A program mired below mediocrity that takes a sharp upward turn gets a lot of praise, and any warts are often overlooked. That's where Randy Mazey's squad is now. It's also at a critical point, in that it will have to perform its first major rebuilding this year to keep its level in the Big 12. Next year's ranking could be quite different based on those results.
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