After sweeping YSU, a formidable Big 12 awaits WVU The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast

Randy Mazey's ball club pulled off its first sweep of the season when it topped Youngstown State in its final series in March, but the hill only gets steeper from here as TCU awaits the Mountaineers as their first opponent in the formidable Big 12 Conference. While WVU prepares for its first road trip in the league, GBN's Ryan Decker and Sam Coniglio sit down and break down exactly what has gone right for this year's exciting edition of Mountaineer baseball, as well as what needs to go well as the season turns to a gauntlet. Subscribe to The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast, sponsored by Pritt & Spano, to have future episodes delivered to you. Download the free Gold and Blue Nation app on your favorite Apple or Android device for more coverage on WVU baseball throughout the season.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The phrase “Mazey Ball” has come to describe a specific style of play that’s reflective of West Virginia’s baseball skipper.

As a player, Randy Mazey put the ball in play, and took the extra base whenever possible.

As a manager, he expects many of his players to follow that same philosophy, especially when it comes to taking an extra base.

Throughout Mazey’s tenure as head coach of the WVU baseball program, his teams have been aggressive.

In 2018, the Mountaineers stole 95 bases, which at the time, was the third-most in program history. A year later, Mazey’s 2019 squad stole 98 bases en route to hosting the first NCAA Regional games in Morgantown since 1955.

Those stolen base totals came in 56 and 60 games, respectively.

Through 21 games played this season, Mazey’s athletic, aggressive, versatile group of base runners have already swiped 79 bases.

That puts this year’s squad on a historic pace.

The Mountaineers have stolen second base, third base, and even home to win a game, seemingly at will this year. Their 79 steals through 21 games means WVU is swiping bases at a rate of 3.76 steals per game.

If West Virginia is able to continue stealing an extra 90 feet at that rate, the Mountaineers won’t just set a new program record for steals, but they’ll do so with ease.

The 1964 WVU baseball team owns that record, having stolen 155 bases in just 29 games. If the Mountaineers continue on their current pace, they will swipe more than 190 bases this year and shatter that record.

Victor Scott II leads West Virginia with 20 stolen bases. That’s tied for the fourth-most steals in the nation.

Behind him are Austin Davis (11), Tevin Tucker (10) and JJ Wetherholt (9).

Davis currently ranks fifth in program history with 46 career steals, and Scott II is two spots behind him with 44 stolen bases in his collegiate career. Tucker is just four swiped bags away from also being in th Top 10 in program history.

Six WVU players have at least six steals this season. The Mountaineers, coming off of stealing 11 bases against Youngstown State on Friday, have stolen at least six bags in a single game six times this year. Just twice has WVU been held without a steal.

West Virginia’s 79 bases stolen this year are the third-most in the NCAA, and the most among any team from a Power 5 conference.

Mazey and company’s base-stealing abilities will be put to the test right away when Big 12 play begins Friday. WVU begins conference play against TCU, which has allowed just 13 stolen bases on the year.

However, it should be noted that the Horned Frogs have only thrown out five potential base stealers, which means opposing teams have been successful 72 percent of the time.

WVU’s battery and infield has allowed just 14 stolen bases, defensively, and has the second-best success rate of throwing out runners in the conference.

The Mountaineers travel to Huntington on Tuesday to face in-state rival Marshall. Opposing teams are 16 for 26 on stolen base attempts against the Herd this year.