Next up on our WVU Season Recap series is the Mountaineer Baseball team.
After losing a good amount of last year’s team to either graduation or injuries, the Mountaineers took the field this year with almost an entirely new look. West Virginia returned outfielder Brady Wilson, first baseman Ryan McBroom, and outfielder/designated hitter Matt Frazer on offense, but for the most part had a completely different group in the lineup.
West Virginia finished the season with a 23-32 record including a 9-18 mark in the Big East Conference, however there were some very nice contributions and surprises throughout the year.
The Mountaineers were led offensively by three newcomers. Freshman center fielder Bobby B0yd led the team with his .321 average to go along with a team-high 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts. Freshman second baseman Billy Fleming was second on the team with a .316 batting average and junior shortstop John Polonius finished batting .306. McBroom and Frazer tied for the team lead in homeruns with 6, while McBroom took the team lead in RBIs with 41.
On the mound, West Virginia was led in wins by sophomore Corey Walter, who picked up 6 victories. He also led all starters with a 4.58 ERA. Starters Marshall Thompson and Dan Dierdorff amassed 3 and 4 wins, respectively. Mountaineer closer Ryan Tezak led the team in pitching overall. Tezak notched 6 saves, but also pitched to a 1.35 ERA while striking out 24 batters in 26 2/3 innings pitched.
The Mountaineers finished in 13th place in the Big East in a season which would mark the end to head coach Greg Van Zant’s 18-year WVU career. Van Zant finished with a 528-451-1 record during his tenure as West Virginia’s head man which ranks him second all-time among WVU baseball coaches.
WVU will head into an interesting year with the baseball program as it enters the Big 12 Conference. Questions surround the team as to where the games will be played next season, while they await the construction of a new stadium which will likely be completed for the 2014 season. West Virginia does have some stability, however, in knowing that new head coach Randy Mazey and his staff are very familiar with both the teams and the intensity of the competition in the Big 12 and will have the team ready to play anyone on the national stage.
Stay tuned to GBZ for more season recaps!