There’s a good feeling going around the West Virginia dugout right now. It’s a team that is sweating, bleeding and oozing confidence. The current aura around the program is well deserved as the Mountaineers ride high on a current four-game winning streak.
“I like where we’re at right now,” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. “We can’t just start drinking the Kool-Aid just yet. There’s a lot of work yet to do. It can go away as fast as it came.”
The Mountaineers completed a season sweep of Pitt Tuesday in a 6-4 victory over the Panthers. Defeating a rival is always a good feeling, but the addition of Pitt coming off back-to-back sweeps inside the ultra-tough ACC is an added bonus.
WVU, 16-8 on the 2014 season, has crawled up to No. 13 in the nation’s RPI rankings. For a team that has set a goal to earn the school’s first postseason berth since 1996, the Mountaineers have no plans on stopping there.
Many thought the dominant pitching staff would be the money-maker for the club this season. To its credit, starters Harrison Musgrave, Sean Carley and John Means all have ERAs under 2.50 entering into April.
However, the explosion of the team’s offense has proven to be a real difference maker. Junior outfielder Bobby Boyd hits a talented group of hitters with a .375 average, including a team-high 39 hits. Second baseman Billy Fleming, first baseman Ryan McBroom and shortstop Taylor Munden all join Boyd with a .300 average or better.
“Confidence is everything to a hitter,” Mazey said. “It doesn’t matter what part of the lineup we’re in, I have confidence in our guys that we can extend innings. Things can happen ... if you’ve got a good offensive team.”
The Mountaineers are exactly where they want to be as conference play in the Big 12 comes in full force. Mazey, second-year head coach of the Mountaineers, said the team’s first 20 games of the season are important in dictating how the year would go.
Despite the early success of the team, Mazey and the rest of the team have remained even-keeled and now chalked up and covered up the team’s newly found swagger to things outside the lines.
“Our guys are used to adversity and not being comfortable,” Mazey said. “When you do throw a little comfort our way, our guys respond pretty well.”
While the momentum has built for the Mountaineers, the road that lies ahead remains difficult. WVU will travel for its first conference road series this weekend when the team heads to TCU before returning to Morgantown the following weekend to host Oklahoma State. Throw in a sprinkling of Big 10 play April 8 and April 15 dates against Penn State and Ohio State, respectively, and the daunting schedule becomes a reality.
If anything has shown in the first month and a half of the season, though, it’s how these Mountaineers are ready for anything that stands in their way. The confidence is up, so is their win total.