After losing its last four, including a three-game sweep at TCU last weekend, the West Virginia baseball team is looking to get back on track and improve its chances at qualifying for postseason play.
On Thursday afternoon, Aaron Fitt of Baseball America released his midseason projected field of 64 for the NCAA Regionals, one that included West Virginia as a No. 3 seed in the Lexington, Ky., regional.
The field included six Big 12 teams, but Fitt feels that all nine teams in the conference have a legitimate shot of playing in the postseason.
“All nine of these teams are still realistically in the hunt for the postseason,” Fitt says. “Some of them have RPI work to do and series to win. There is no soft underbelly in the league this year; they are all competitive.”
West Virginia currently sits at No. 24 in the RPI according to WarrenNolan.com, while the conference as a whole is ranked No. 2, behind the SEC. There are currently five conference teams in the Top 50 of the RPI, compared to just two in the final RPI report of 2013.
Texas, who was the odd man out last season in the eight-team Big 12 Tournament, leads the way with an RPI of No. 9, while this weekend’s opponent, Oklahoma State, is vying for a spot on the bubble with an RPI of No. 106.
“It’s an important series for both these teams,” Fitt says. “At this point, the Big 12 is so muddled I really feel, even eight weeks into the season, that we don’t know how these teams are going to finish.
“West Virginia is approaching this series from a much stronger RPI position. This gives WVU a little more breathing room, but they’re all important at this point. This is a good Oklahoma State team and a good West Virginia team; I’m curious to see how it will shake out.”
Fitt believes that the non-conference schedule put together by coach Randy Mazey has allowed WVU to be in this position and makes them legitimate contenders.
“They have played some good teams on the road and it has put them in a good position. They haven’t done well against the Top 50 (1-6), so they need to start getting some marquee wins, but I do like the fact that they played a tough schedule early on,” Fitt says. “They held their own, so I think they’re in a good position and I really like how that team is constructed. They’re capable of finishing in the top half of the Big 12, and if they do that they’ll be in really good shape."