WVU baseball: Big 12 pushes back tournament one day
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The start of this week's Big 12 baseball tournament in Oklahoma City was pushed back from today to Thursday and the format was changed from double-elimination to round robin pool play.
Following Monday's deadly tornado nearby, the league's athletic directors and baseball coaches agreed to the changes, which will feature a pair of four-team pools. Teams will play one game Thursday, Friday and Saturday in their pools. The pool winners advance to Sunday's championship game.
The games will still be played at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
"I've never been through this before, so it's hard for me to comment whether I like it or not," West Virginia Coach Randy Mazey said. "Maybe I can when we get through it."
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said there was thought given to canceling the tournament, but that the Big 12 was encouraged by Oklahoma City leaders to play.
"We believe the tournament can serve as a testament to the strong Oklahoma spirit and to the resiliency of the Oklahoma people," Bowlsby said.
WVU is the No. 4 seed.
The Mountaineers (31-25, 13-11 Big 12) play Thursday against No. 6 seed Kansas, Friday against No. 8 seed TCU and Saturday against No. 2 seed Oklahoma State. Every game is 5 p.m. and will be televised by Fox College Sports Central.
"We didn't want to be hitting balls and playing baseball while families were still looking for loved ones," Mazey said. "I'm in complete agreement with everything decided by the Big 12, the conference athletic directors and coaches and the people of Oklahoma City."
Mazey said there have been discussions about donating money made at the tournament to relief causes that will assist victims.
"I'm really in favor of that," he said. "I think that makes the tournament worthwhile. It doesn't matter who wins or loses. It's like you're playing for someone else now. If we can make a significant impact on people that were affected, it doesn't matter if you're playing a baseball tournament or a game of checkers."
Mazey, who helped the Mountaineers to a share of third place in the final standings in his first season despite being picked ninth in the preseason coaches' poll in the nine-team conference, was not named the Big 12 Coach of the Year on Tuesday. That went instead to Kansas State's Brad Hill, who had the league's Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year.
Kansas State won the Big 12 regular season title after being picked seventh in the preseason coaches' poll.
WVU sophomore Harrison Musgrave was named the Pitcher of the Year.
The sophomore lefty who missed last season following Tommy John surgery was 5-0 with a 1.02 ERA and 61 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched in seven Big 12 games. Overall, Musgrave was 8-1 with a 2.14 ERA and a .197 opponent batting average.
Juniors Ryan McBroom and Matt Frazer were named second-team all-conference. McBroom led the league in home runs (11) and was in the top 10 in doubles (17), runs batted in (43) and slugging percentage (.515). Frazer, a former Nitro High School star, was in the top 10 in home runs (seven), runs batted in (37) and slugging percentage (.474).
Sophomore center fielder Bobby Boyd, sophomore second baseman Billy Fleming, senior catcher Alan Filauro, junior left fielder Jacob Rice, junior third baseman Ryan Tuntland and senior right fielder Brady Wilson made the honorable mention list.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.