How have WVU fans responded to baseball success? Strongly
Through all the rain in northern West Virginia lately, there’s been a couple rainbows for WVU Mountaineer fans.
One was formed by the portal/NIL success experienced by Bob Huggins and staff regarding the WVU men’s basketball team.
Well, the other rainbow is scheduled to take on Pitt at 6:30 today, Wednesday, May 3, at Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark in beautiful not-so-downtown Granville. (The hope from Morgantown is the game would be squeezed in among spotty light showers.)
Of course, I reference Randy Mazey’s amazing WVU baseball team, now sitting at 33-11 and ranked among Top 20 teams across the college baseball poll board.
It’s quite a story for a school that regularly deals with crappy spring weather. The team is winning in the Big 12, traditionally one of the nation’s very best baseball conferences. The fans are following. (The Pitt game, by the way, is going to be streamed via Big 12 Now on ESPN+. It will also be on radio via Mountaineer Sports Network.)
“Mountaineer baseball has generated an unprecedented level of excitement this season,” said Matt Wells, WVU executive senior associate athletic director for external affairs. “The guys are playing an exciting style of baseball and Mountaineer Nation has really embraced this team.”
The fans have embraced the team because the players have left true fans little choice. Ranked as high as No. 12, the Mountaineers have won eight games in a row and 10 of their last 11. They are winning at home and on the road. They are scoring runs like crazy. JJ Wetherholt has reached base in 46 consecutive games.
What’s not to love? The team is even drawing crowds on Monday nights at Mundy’s Place in Morgantown for Mazey and players.
In case you’re wondering, the program record for season ticket sales was set this season at 710. That’s the first time in program history over 700.
Also, three of the top 10 crowds in Mon Park Ballpark history have gathered this season – with likely more coming in the final seven home games.
To be exact, WVU’s home game against Penn State drew 3,475 fans (No. 6 overall and the third-ever largest regular season crowd). On a Friday night against TCU, 3,441 Mountaineer fans attended (No. 7 overall and the No. 4 largest regular season crowd). And again against TCU on a Saturday, WVU drew 3,200 fans (No. 8 overall and the No. 5 largest regular season crowd).
It’s great to see. While the Mountaineer football program still tries to gain footing, the basketball recruiting and now baseball performance have given WVU fans reason to smile through some dreary weather.
“Also,” said Wells, “we have two huge weekend home Big 12 series left. We need our fans to pack Mon County Ballpark to help this team finish strong.”
I get the feeling Mountaineer fans will indeed show. This weekend Oklahoma will visit Granville for three games – with a promise of good weather. Then next weekend, May 12-14, Texas Tech hits town for three.
Should be a fun finish — and NCAA tournament — for Mazey’s merry band.
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Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.