Darius Hill expected big things when he came to West Virginia from Dallas.
Big things certainly happened for the Mountaineers this season as they took the Big 12 Conference by storm at the end of the season.
The WVU baseball team won 10-straight and earned the title of the hottest team in the country as the regular season drew to a close.
West Virginia made even more noise in the Big 12 Tournament, making it all the way to the title game. The Mountaineers forced extra innings against TCU before the Horned Frogs ultimately pulled out the victory.
It was WVU’s only loss of the conference tournament and, unfortunately, it marked the end of the road for the Mountaineers in the 2016 season.
What the team has to look forward to in 2017 is how Hill can top his freshman campaign with the Mountaineers. He provided an offensive spark and a reliable spot in the batting order each time out.
Hill finished his first collegiate season with a .342 batting average (second on the team) and a total of 72 hits (most on the team) and the Mountaineers tallied a record of 36-22.
Hill also had the team lead in plate appearances, doubles and triples. He was the only player to appear in and start all 58 games of the season.
That durability was noticed not just by head coach Randy Mazey, but by a nationwide audience as well.
According to WVUsports.com, this is the 11th time in program history that a single player has racked up multiple All-American honors.
In recent years, under Mazey’s tutelage, pitcher BJ Myers and infielder Kyle Davis were named First-Team All-Americans by Louisville Slugger.
Mazey has shown he as a knack for attracting young talent and developing these skilled players into consistent performers at a high level.
Hill has certainly made a name for himself with the Mountaineers in a short period of time. Same goes for Myers and Davis, as they move up to be the team’s leaders and upperclassmen.
The trust Mazey showed in freshmen like Hill proves his commitment to building a winning program in Morgantown. The Mountaineers are still reeling from their heartbreaking defeat in the Big 12 title game.
However, it seems that a fire has been lit under this team and players like Hill will carry the WVU baseball program to even greater heights in 2017 and beyond.
Hill has shown his own driven abilities already this offseason by joining the Alaska Baseball League for the summer.
This special division has provided NCAA players with a competitive schedule and a greater chance to earn professional looks. Hill and the Mountaineers will benefit greatly from this experience.