West Virginia’s baseball team swept Kansas State over the weekend with two relatively comfortable wins and one walk-off in between. The latter was aided by a bizarre strike zone in the late innings that many thought changed at-bats, and a 50-5o coaching decision to not issue an IBB to load the bases in the bottom of the ninth that came up tails for Kansas State.
But when you’re rolling like WVU is rolling, you get the good side of the coin more often than not. And the Mountaineers are shaking things up at the right time of the season.
— Kendall Rogers (@KendallRogersPG) April 27, 2014
This really is something. I mean, we’re having postseason baseball chats at WVU. Not only that, but these hypotheticals are happening in the same month in which the Mountaineers lost seven n a row.
Randy Mazey seems to transform everything he touches and the key parts of the pitching staff — Corey Walter in midweek games, Ross Vance again in a weekend series and Sean Carley to close things out — and the batting order — the interchanging designated hitters produce, and Brad Johnson was basically the third-string third baseman, but is now the absolutely torrid starting right fielder — are changes he made these past few weeks.
WVU has six straight wins and seven in the last eight overall and, quite serendipitously, gets Marshal Wednesday in Charleston. That will actually hurt the RPI, win or lose, but the event itself has to help.
This game was originally scheduled for last month. It was postponed and the compatible alternate date happened to be the only midweek opening the team had in Big 12 play. Remember, WVU had two midweek games last week and, going by the original schedule, wasn’t supposed to have any his week, which is final’s week on campus.
But now, WVU’s tip-top offense can stay sharp against a Marshall team it had no trouble getting to early and often last week. So that helps, and little things like that, almost imperceptible in appearance, but much larger in existence, continue to go WVU’s way.
Why does that matter? WVU has an enormous three-game series at home this weekend against Texas. Certainly the Mountaineers would rather not have four days off while noses are buried in textbooks before playing a season-defining series against, you know, Texas.
(Aside: No students, of course, because they’ll bail after finals, but, man, that crowd for the 4 p.m. game Saturday really should be something else. My wife has season tickets with her friends. I might tailgate and call it a Derby de Mayo party. And by “might,” I mean “shall.”)
WVU has 12 regular-season games left — Marshall, the Texas series, Virginia Tech in Bluefield, a series at Kansas, a game at Maryland and a series at Texas Tech — and remains in a favorable position to get an at-large bid as long as this doesn’t fall apart at the end.
The RPI and the strength of schedule, oddly enough both buoyed and necessitated by the early-season weather here that makes home games unreasonable, are both just too strong to ignore. So the working theory is beat Marshall, scratch together five more wins the rest of the schedule and then manage to not disappear in the Big 12 Tournament.