Mountaineers seek elusive NCAA baseball bid
MORGANTOWN – In closing out its regular season schedule with two losses in three games against Texas in Austin, West Virginia had the No. 4 seed in this week’s Big 12 baseball tournament to be played in Oklahoma City.
West Virginia’s chances to play in the 64-team, NCAA national tournament hinge on whether the Mountaineers can win the eight-school event. Receiving an at-large bid with its current 32-22 record would be a long-shot at best. The Mountaineers had a better record in 2016 and also reached the Big 12 tournament finals before losing to Texas Tech but didn’t receive a bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Big 12 event began on Wednesday when the Mountaineers faced No. 5 seed Baylor in the opening round. West Virginia won two of three games against Baylor in the regular season.
The rest of the tournament field has No. 1 seed Texas Tech, No. 2 seed TCU, No. 3 seed Oklahoma, No. 6 seed Texas, No. 7 seed Kansas and No. 8 seed Oklahoma State. Kansas State failed to qualify for the tournament.
In the second round, West Virginia would play the winner of the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma State game if it defeated Baylor and would see the loser of that game if beaten by the Bears. The double-elimination event goes on through Sunday. The tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Both Texas Tech and TCU have virtually wrapped up at least at-large bids to the NCAA event because both are ranked in the top seven teams in the nation.
West Virginia fell to Texas, 6-2, last Friday in the first game of its season-closing series in Austin against Texas. The Mountaineers took a drama-filled, 4-3, win over the Longhorns in a 10-inning game on Saturday, but lost the series when Texas had a, 9-4, win on Sunday.
The NCAA tournament field and 16 Regional sites will be announced early next week. Each Regional will have four-team fields. Following the 16 Regionals will come eight Super Regionals where two teams play in best two-of-three series to determine the eight qualifiers for the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.
West Virginia has never qualified for the College World Series.