West Virginia, Marshall to play in baseball for first time since 2008
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 00:01
Head coach Randy Mazey and the West Virginia baseball team will kick off its first season in the Big 12 Conference Feb. 15 when it heads down to Jacksonville, Fla., for a three-game set against North Florida.
The Mountaineers’ schedule features 32 non-conference games, and the most notable of these games are the three games with Marshall throughout the season.
Their Mar. 19 date with the Thundering Herd will mark the first time in a long long time in-state rivals will face off since 2008.
"That was really one of the first things I did when I got here, I thought it was crazy not to play the only other Division 1 school in the state," Mazey said. "The coach at Marshall is a friend of mine, so we threw that series together in a matter of minutes."
Unlike most series the Mountaineers will play this year, the three games with Marshall will be spread out over the course of the year, and at three different locations.
"I just feel from a fan’s standpoint in West Virginia that that just makes sense for us to play each other, and we’re going to try to spread it out around the state," Mazey said. "We’ll play once in Morgantown, once in Charleston and once in Beckley, and hopefully have a chance to do that every year."
Following the first meeting in Charleston Mar. 19, the teams will play Apr. 2 in Morgantown and May 14 in Beckley, giving fans from all around West Virginia a chance to see some of the best baseball talent the state has to offer.
"No matter where you go in West Virginia, there’s going to be Mountaineer fans everywhere," Mazey said. "I’ve seen that when I drive through the country out here you see flags flying even if you’re four or five hours from here. There are a lot of Mountaineer fans, so we want to give them an opportunity to see us play without having to drive to Morgantown."
Although playing the three games in three different locations may be a benefit to baseball fans across West Virginia, it is just a small part of a rigorous road schedule for the Mountaineers. Only eight of their 56 games will be played at Hawley Field in Morgantown.
"What we’re preparing to do, I’m not sure, but it may be unprecedented in college baseball with the travel we’re facing," Mazey said. "It presents a lot of challenges from an academic standpoint, from a fatigue standpoint, for strength and conditioning and nutrition."
Keeping the team focused and ready to perform on these long road trips will be the key to success or failure for the Mountaineers this season.
"We have prepared them (the team) for the challenge with the unbelievable amount of travel," Mazey said. "To me that just presents an unbelievable opportunity for us."