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Big 12 baseball: West Virginia is conference's surprise team

The Mountaineers were the unanimous pick to finish last in the league following a preseason poll of the coaches. Yet here they are, at 30-23 overall and 12-9 in the conference, still in the Big 12 title chase in their debut season.
by John Helsley Published: May 15, 2013

Then midstream, Mazey had to scrap his game plan.

“Once we started having some success and it looked like we had chance to win the league,” he said, “then we had to flip it and teach them how to handle the success. We had to change approaches with them. And they've responded very well.”

Sophomore Harrison Musgrave has been among the league's best starting pitchers, sitting at 8-1 with a 2.14 earned run average, three complete games and three shutouts. The Mountaineers hit well, with a .281 team batting average, led by third baseman Ryan Tuntland's .343 mark. Left fielder Jacob Rice, a Tulsa Union product, ranks ninth in the Big 12 in hits per game.

And then there's Mazey, hailed by Big 12 coaches as a spot-on hire last June.

Not only was Mazey a respected game manager, he was familiar with the league's teams and the area's recruiting landscape, having served the past six seasons as an assistant at TCU.

“I tell our guys every series what to expect out of these teams,” Mazey said. “I think it kind of gave us a little bit of a calming affect, that you're not going into it completely blind and not knowing what to expect.

“I just tried to convince our guys that, ‘Hey, I know all these programs. Based on me being around you guys as long as I have, you're as good. Don't feel any intimidation at all. Go out and do what you do, play hard, and you should have some success.'”

And they've done just that, carrying little hope for a Big 12 championship.

And that's not a bad thing.

by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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