WVU baseball thriving under 1st-year coach
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West Virginia's three-game weekend series against TCU is special for first-year coach Randy Mazey, a Horned Frogs assistant from 2007-12.
With Mazey on staff, TCU won 40 games each season and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional four consecutive years. Mazey's success at TCU led to him becoming the coach at West Virginia, which has qualified for the Big 12 Tournament its first year in the league.
“My son was the bat boy there. Both my kids were born in Fort Worth. They were Horned Frogs their whole lives prior to us coming here,” Mazey said. “I really got close to the players. The coaching staff, tremendous friends of mine. It's going to be good to see everybody, but when it comes to playing them, that's a different story. You don't mind competing against your friends when you're playing golf or playing cards. But when there's so much at stake and you don't want anybody to lose, that makes it tougher.”
At stake for WVU is the top seed in the Big 12 Tournament from May 22-26 in Oklahoma City. The Mountaineers (29-20, 11-7) are tied with Kansas State and Oklahoma for first place.
WVU enters Friday's game against TCU in Charleston, W.Va., having won seven of nine and 10 of 14 games.
After opening the season adjusting to a new coach and new league, WVU set its sights on winning the Big 12, annually considered among the elite conferences in college baseball.
“About 20 games ago, we had to switch how we handled adversity to how we handled success,” Mazey said. “When you start winning, the trick is to handle the success you're having.”
In their past three Big 12 series against Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, WVU is 7-2.
“We've put ourselves in the position to not have the luxury to take time off,” Mazey said. “Maybe other teams can do that. Winning teams, once you get there, you've got to live up to it. They've created this for themselves based on how hard they've worked and everything they've done.”
Mazey has gotten mileage out of sophomore lefty Harrison Musgrave, who is 7-1 with a 2.38 ERA and hasn't lost since March 8. Junior third baseman Ryan Tuntland leads WVU with a .346 average.
As for Mazey, he's understanding the nuances involved in knowing when to coach his players and when to allow his assistants to take over.
Mazey realizes there's more to coaching than what occurs on the field. He credits TCU coach Jim Schlossnagle for empowering him as a decision maker. In turn, Mazey has empowered WVU assistants Derek Matlock and Steven Trout. Trout played under Mazey at TCU.
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JHarris_Trib.
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