The WVU baseball team is currently playing like the 1927 Yankees and the 2016 Chicago Cubs. These Mountaineers have been on a historic run and look to make more history in the final week of the regular season.
Riding a nine-game winning streak, the Mountaineers can close out the season with four more wins if they beat rival Pitt on Tuesday and top Big 12 squad Texas Tech over the weekend.
By sweeping William & Mary over the weekend, the Mountaineers eclipsed the 30-win plateau. In 2015, West Virginia finished the regular season with 27 wins. In 2014, the WVU baseball team also finished the regular season with 27 wins. In 2013, the Mountaineers had 31 regular season victories.
Those recent years are all with Randy Mazey at the helm. The 2013 season saw the greatest success the Mountaineers had seen in quite some time. Not only did the Mountaineers win those 31 regular season games, they also finished in the Top 4 in the Big 12 Conference standings and picked up two wins in the league tournament.
However, the Mountaineers just missed out on a spot in the NCAA Tournament. WVU was likely one of the first bubble teams left out by the selection committee.
West Virginia is in a similar position this season. Like it did in 2013, the WVU baseball team is finishing out the season on a high note. The Mountaineers have a legitimate shot to pick up four more wins and finish the regular season with a total of 35 victories.
That may not lift them into the final tournament discussion, but it certainly moves them closer into consideration. A win or two, or three, may just vault them into an at-large bid. But, that would mean the Mountaineers would be on a 16-game winning streak which is not an easy feat to accomplish.
However, that would also mean that West Virginia is the hottest team in the country. It would be hard to keep that kind of momentum out of the NCAA Tournament. If the Mountaineers want to guarantee themselves a spot in baseball’s version of the big dance, they could just win the Big 12 Conference Tournament. That would take four or five victories, and WVU could even afford to lose one game in the tournament, which begins next week.
Last season, WVU took two out of three from Texas Tech in the final series of the season. The Mountaineers will have to do that, and then some, if this is the year for them to go where no WVU program has gone since 1996.
That was the last year the WVU baseball team made the NCAA Tournament by an at-large bid. That’s right, not even Jedd Gyorko, who dominated for the Mountaineers through the Big East, could lift the Mountaineers that far.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, there are 33 at-large bids up for grabs, after the conference champions earn their automatic bid. Sports writer Mike Casazza points out that, last season, 14 of those bids went to teams with at least 20 losses. The Mountaineers currently have 19 losses. The count could stay that way if the hit streak continues for West Virginia.