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Three Thoughts on Saturday’s Big 12 Super Regional Games

West Virginia Baseball team locks arms before the first pitch.

The road to Omaha began last week as 64 teams started their postseason journey. Now the field has been cut down to just 16 as we head to the Super Regionals. There are just two Big 12 teams left with West Virginia and Kansas State. The Mountaineers traveled to Chapel Hill to take on North Carolina while Kansas State went to Charlottesville to face Virginia. Unfortunately, both teams ended up falling short on Saturday and were eliminated. Here are my three thoughts on day two from the Super Regionals.

Friday’s Schedule

Virginia: 10, Kansas State: 4

North Carolina: 2, West Virginia: 1

 

Kansas State’s Pitching Collapsed Late

Coming into the weekend, I was concerned about Kansas State’s pitching holding up against a good Virginia offense. Those concerns became a reality on Saturday afternoon as the Wildcats gave up ten runs to the Cavaliers.

Virgina got off to a good start as they took a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

But Kansas State was able to tie the game at two in the second.

Both teams would trade runs as the game went on and eventually Kansas State pulled within a run after Kyan Lodice’s solo blast in the eighth inning.

Things fell apart in the ninth inning though as Virginia scored five runs to separate themselves.

While Kansas State didn’t have a lead in the ninth inning, their pitching completely collapsed between JJ Slack and Josh Wintroub.

 

Where Did West Virginia’s Offense Go?

The one thing I could count on for West Virginia was their offense. The Mountaineers put up a lot of runs in the Tucson regional and even scored six runs on Friday despite falling short. I was so concerned about their pitching depth that I didn’t even think twice about the offense having an off day.

It turned out to be the exact opposite on Saturday night as the pitching turned out to be fantastic while the offense struggled. Starting pitcher Tyler Switalski pitched an incredible game going a little over six innings and gave up just two runs against an outstanding North Carolina lineup. Even when Carson Estridge came in, he was equally as good and didn’t give up a single run.

However, the West Virginia offense could get anything going against Jason DeCaro and Dalton Pence out of the bullpen. The Mountaineers scored just a single run in nine innings and even when they had a chance to potentially tie or win the game, they couldn’t come up with that key hit.

 

What a Ride

The 2024 season was quite the ride for many teams in the Big 12 Conference. While we saw some teams fall short, others came out of nowhere and surprised everyone. Both Kansas State and West Virginia entered the tournament as three seeds and made it out of their opening regionals. Nobody had that happening, yet it did.

What Kansas State was able to accomplish under Pete Hughes this year was incredible. The fan support was awesome and the fact that they were able to take down Arkansas in Fayetteville was unforgettable. It seemed like they just ran out of gas in their series against Virginia.

As for West Virginia, they put up a hell of a fight despite dropping the first two games. I want to give a tip of the cap to head coach Randy Mazey. He built the West Virginia baseball program from the ground up and led them to multiple postseason appearances. This was Mazey’s final season before retiring and I just wish he could have made it to Omaha before calling it a career. Thank you coach Mazey for everything you have done not only for West Virginia but for the Big 12 as well.

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