MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Perhaps no player contributed more to West Virginia’s late-season surge on the diamond than Austin Davis. Nobody looked as flashy, either.
But as was the story for his team as a whole, the 2021 season was not always easy. At one point in late March, the junior outfielder’s batting average was .188.
Then came the turnaround: Davis boosted that average by more than 100 points over the final two months of the season.
Head coach Randy Mazey moved him from the nine-spot to leadoff in the batting order, a decision that paid dividends. WVU was 7-11 when Davis batted at the bottom of the order, but boasted a 15-12 record with the junior in the leadoff spot.
Davis finished the season with a team-leading .320 average, keeping that average above .300 for the final 12 contests of the season. He also led the Mountaineers in total hits with 56 and finished second in runs with 28.
He also led the roster in another category: highlight reel catches. Davis produced arguably the best defensive play of the Big 12 Tournament in Friday’s 3-2 loss to Texas when he robbed the Longhorns of a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth. The NCAA named that web gem the No. 2 play of the week in college baseball:
That grab gave the Mountaineers a jolt, as they pulled ahead of Texas in the top of the fifth. Davis, fittingly, played a part in the rally by notching a two-out single, stealing a base and then scoring the go-ahead run to make it 2-1.
Though West Virginia ultimately lost the contest, spelling the end of the team’s run at the tournament, head coach Randy Mazey said that grab at the wall by Davis completely changed the complexion of the game.
“You guys that know him know that that’s not the first time he’s done that. He does that kind of stuff all the time,” Mazey said. “He had a tremendous year for us. He’s a tremendous player.”
More big time plays could be coming soon, as Davis is part of a group of six Mountaineers who have joined the West Virginia Black Bears for their inaugural season in the New York-Penn League. He was added to the team’s roster over the weekend, but has yet to appear for the club.
Davis also earned an All-Big 12 honorable mention during his stellar junior season with WVU.