West Virginia to open season against North Florida
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 23:02
First-year head coach Randy Mazey and the West Virginia baseball team will travel to the University of North Florida this weekend to take on the Ospreys in a season opening three-game series, with action set to kick off Friday at 6 p.m.
Looking to start on a strong note, the Mountaineers will look to their leaders to keep the team focused and upbeat in a year that is sure to test their mettle.
However, identifying these leaders may be a bit of a problem, as there will be nobody donning a jersey with a "C" on their chest.
"Captains and leaders just kind of rise to the occasion; you can’t pick and choose the guys that are going to be leaders because you never know when a different guy is going to step up," Mazey said. "We can have a different leader every game."
Picked to finish last in the Big 12 this season, not many people in the college baseball world expect much out of the Mountaineers this season. Although the odds seemed to be stacked against them, Coach Mazey embraces the challenge.
"We’ve got an unbelievable opportunity ahead of us," Mazey said. "With all the adversity and obstacles we’ve got; very few teams in the country have the opportunity that we have right now."
One of the obstacles facing the team is the amount of travel they will have to do, even to the majority if their home games. The Mountaineers will play Big 12 Conference home games in Charleston.
North Florida is one of the biggest trips the team will take this year. If the travel wasn’t enough of a challenge, the Ospreys will serve as formidable opponents.
Seniors Corey Bass (catcher) and Joe Wielbruda (second base) along with juniors Tyler Marincov (outfield) and Tyler Moore (pitcher) were selected to the preseason all-Atlantic Sun Conference Team.
"They’re good (UNF), they’ve got four all-conference guys returning. It’s going to be tough, there’s no doubt about it," Mazey said. "If we do what we do – not get caught up in the opponent, play the way we’ve practiced – I think our guys will be fine."
While the team may be coming into the season with low expectations from outsiders, that hasn’t put a damper on Coach Mazey’s outlook on the season.
"All the obstacles we’ve got just add to the reasons to why we have to play hard. I would much rather be picked last than first," Mazey said.
Although it would certainly benefit the Mountaineers to start the season off with a strong showing at North Florida, the college baseball season is more of a marathon than a sprint.
"You don’t necessarily have to be a good team in February; you have to be a good team in May and June," Mazey said. "Win, lose or draw, we’re going to keep improving throughout the year and hopefully be playing our best baseball at the end of the year."