WVU makes history, knocks off Grand Canyon 10-6 to advance to school’s first super regional

MORGANTOWN — Randy Mazey got an extended stay as West Virginia’s baseball coach, as his Mountaineers made some super history on Sunday night.

After 130 years in college baseball, WVU can now say it will play in a super regional — which constitutes the final 16 teams still playing in the nation — after the Mountaineers took care of Grand Canyon 10-6 to win the Tucson (Ariz.) Regional championship.

At the very least, it means one more week of coaching for Mazey, who will retire at the end of the season.

“That’s OK, I’ll put it off as long as we need to,” Mazey told the ESPN following the game.

WVU (36-22) swept the region that also included No. 21 Arizona and No. 25 Dallas Baptist in three games, using gutsy relief performances from Aidan Major and Carson Estridge along with a hot bat from Logan Sauve to clinch the title.

Grand Canyon (36-25) had advanced to its first regional title in school history by beating Dallas Baptist 12-10 earlier in the day.

It was a celebration on the field 12 years in the making, the time Mazey has spent rebuilding the program, and doing so by continually finding players with potential and then building that potential into a program that could compete nationally.

“Winning here means a lot to a lot of people,” Mazey said. “To win a regional like this, we represent a ton of people, 1.8 million people in the state of West Virginia that I know are really, really proud.”

The Mountaineers took another major step forward at Hi Corbett Field, as Sauve had three hits and three RBIs and WVU had 17 hits as a team against the Antelopes.

Up next is a trip to the super regionals — which is worth an extra $50,000 to Mazey, according to his contract incentives — on either Friday or Saturday against the winner of the Chapel Hill (N.C) Regional.

It will either be against North Carolina or defending national champion LSU. The Tigers took down the Tar Heels 8-4 on Sunday to force a winner-take-all game on Monday.

Regardless of who wins that game, WVU will hit the road for the super regional, either to Chapel Hill or to Baton Rouge, La.

A super regional is a best-of-three series between two teams. The winner of the super regional advances to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. as one of the final eight teams remaining.

Major played a critical role, too, coming out of the bullpen in the first inning after starter Hayden Cooper gave up two runs and didn’t record a single out with any of his 22 pitches thrown.

Major, who earned the win, came in with the bases loaded and gave up a sacrifice fly RBI, but then also got a fly ball and a ground out to get out of the inning with the Antelopes leading only 3-2.

He kept WVU moving forward until the fifth inning. Major, who sat out the end of the regular season and the Big 12 tournament with arm soreness, threw 82 pitches and allowed just two hits and one run over 4 2/3 innings.

Estridge took over from there, striking out Emilio Barreras with the bases loaded and then got some help from his defense later in the game.

Skylar King threw out Zach Yorke from right field at a play at home plate to end the seventh inning.

In the eight, WVU shortstop J.J. Wetherholt went deep into the hole and threw out Barreras at first base from the outfield grass.

Estridge went 3 2/3 innings in all. The sophomore from Haymarket, Va. allowed one run and three hits. He struck out four and walked none.

Maxx Yehl gave up a two-run home to Yorke in the ninth for the final score, but it was Derek Clark — he pitched a complete game on Friday against Dallas Baptist — who came back out for a curtain call. He caught Beau Ankeney looking to end the game, as WVU players rushed out of the dugout to celebrate their first regional title.

Sauve was WVU’s top hitter in the regional. His three-run homer helped beat Dallas Baptist on Friday and he drove in three more runs Sunday night with a single in the second inning and a double in the third.

Sam White, Reed Chumley and Grant Hussey all added two RBIs on Sunday.