After a nearly-two-hour delay, the thunder stayed around as West Virginia and No. 13 Wake Forest knocked 26 total hits as the Demon Deacons downed the Mountaineers 12-8 in the NCAA Regional final last night in Winston-Salem. The hosts used a six-run fourth inning to separate themselves from the pesky upstarts.
Despite the loss, WVU’s season will go down as one of the most successful in school history, finishing 36-26. This was the first time WVU baseball has reached the NCAA tournament since 1996.
Wake Forest, the No. 1 seed and host of the regional, set the pace early, scoring two runs in the both the first and second innings. WVU was able to keep pace but dug too deep of a hole in the fourth inning.
The Demon Deacons scored six runs on five hits in the fourth frame alone. Stuart Fairchild launched a grand slam to left field and then Ben Breazeale hit a two-run shot to push Wake Forest’s lead to 10-3.
WVU was able to answer with three runs in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to RBI doubles from Ivan Gonzalez and Cole Austin.
Wake increased its lead in the fifth with two more runs. The Mountaineers pulled within four in the eighth but were retired in order in the ninth to end the season.
WVU went 2-2 on the weekend, with two wins against Maryland and two losses to Wake Forest.
“Super super proud of our team…this team will probably go down in history for one of the best ever at West Virginia history for what we accomplished this year,” said head coach Randy Mazey. “To do it without the pitchers that we lost…It's incredible that we got as far as we did.”
This was a record-breaking season for WVU baseball in many ways. For starters, the 62 games played is the most in any season. WVU also reached a NCAA Regional final for the first time 1996 as well.
The Mountaineers recorded more at-bats this season (2136) than any season prior. The team’s 36 wins is the most in 11 years, tied for third best in program history.
Mazey’s club matched its win total from last season, pushing him to 160 wins in five seasons in charge of the WVU baseball program. His club played 18 games against top-25 opponents, posting a 10-8 record.
“This is a statement about our program, where it’s going and the direction it’s headed,” Mazey pontificated.