Tough Game? Yes, But Still Fun For WVU
By: Kevin Kinder
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – It was a nailbiting game. It is, one might imagine, the kind of game that belonged at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., not necessarily in one of sixteen regional rounds on the opening weekend of collegiate baseball’s signature event. It’s the kind of loss that will linger with fans after the season is over, much as the Gonzaga loss did with supporters of the men’s basketball team. But the fact is, the morning after West Virginia’s tough 4-3 loss to Wake Forest, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that it was a heck of a game.
Sure, the main takeaway is that WVU came up on the short end of the stick, but the fact that this was a well-played contest on both sides with numerous pitcher-batter showdowns, sparkling defensive plays and an evenly-split crowd hanging on every pitch made it a special atmosphere.
Wake Forest head coach Tom Walter, obviously buoyed by coming out on top, was effusive in his postgame comments.
“What a great college baseball game that was. Two really good teams going toe to toe, neither team backing, neither team giving in. The fans were electric. Just a great college baseball environment and that game right there was what college baseball is all about. It was just really fun to be a small part of that.”
Mountaineer head coach Randy Mazey, while acknowledging that WVU now faces the difficult task of winning three games in about 34 hours to advance out of the region, directed many of his opening statements in the same manner.
“Wow what a game to watch. The fans turned out in bunches. Great atmosphere, great game. Someone had to lose it, I guess, and it’s a shame it was us, but that was a lot of fun. You don’t realize it right now because you’re so disappointed, but gosh.”
Mazey wasn’t just blowing smoke, but there was also a subtext message for his players in his appreciation of the game. Don’t let this loss affect the next one. Appreciate the fact that you just played in a heck of a game that had all the electricity of an NCAA Basketball Tournament regional final or Final Four encounter. He knew his players gave their all, and came up just short.
“Our guys just battled and battled and battled, and we threw all of our bullets at them. We are in a position that we were in last week in the conference tournament. This is the hardest position to win in at a regional, the game where you are coming off a loss against a team coming off a win in an elimination game. We were in this spot last week and beat the number three team in the country, Texas Tech, pretty handily. I feel confident that our guys are going to come out [on Sunday] with a lot of energy and a lot of passion, and we’ll throw our hats on the field and see what happens.”