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WVU baseball back in NCAAs again, will take on Dallas Baptist in Arizona

May 27—MORGANTOWN — Randy Mazey will end his WVU baseball coaching career having made one last bit of history Monday, becoming the first coach since Steve Harrick in the 1960s to lead the Mountaineers to consecutive NCAA tournaments.

WVU (33-22) was selected as the No. 3 seed in the Tucson, Ariz. Regional, where the host is Pac-12 champion Arizona, the top seed in the region and the No. 13 national seed overall.

The Mountaineers will take on Dallas Baptist (44-13), the champion of Conference USA, at 3 p.m. Friday (ESPN2) at Hi Corbett Field.

"I think part of it will be us playing with a chip on our shoulder, " said Mazey, who will retire after this season. "I'll bet not too many people will give us a chance to win out there, which benefits us."

It's the 15th all-time appearance for the Mountaineers in the NCAA tournament and follows up their trip made to Kentucky in last season's regional.

That's the first time since 1961-64 that WVU has made consecutive trips to the NCAAs. How long ago was that ? Mazey wasn't even born yet.

"We felt we had done enough to get in, but you never really know until you get to watch the (selection) show, " WVU shortstop J.J. Wetherholt said. "To see your name pop up for the second year in a row is a great feeling. We're really excited."

Arizona (36-21) will host Grand Canyon (34-23) at 9 p.m. Friday, with the two winners and the two losers scheduled to meet Saturday.

WVU has never advanced out of regional play in its history.

Getting to that point this season would mean getting out of a regional featuring two nationally ranked teams—No. 21 Arizona and No. 25 Dallas Baptist—after traveling 2, 000 miles to play.

The RPI rankings suggest a competitive Tucson regional. Of the top three seeds, Dallas Baptist leads the way with a No. 17 ranking in the RPI, with some projections listing the Patriots as a possible regional host.

Arizona, which played the toughest nonconference schedule in the country, is ranked No. 31 in the RPI, while the Mountaineers are ranked No. 37.

WVU did play in Tucson last season, taking two of three from the Wildcats, a nonconference series that helped spark a 40-win season.

"There's a lot to be said for playing on a field you have confidence in, " Mazey said. "Just like a golfer, sometimes they play better on a course they're familiar with.

"J.J. swung it incredibly well out there. Sam White played incredibly well."

The day did not come without some missed expectations.

Mazey went into the selection show leaning toward playing in Charlottesville, Va., and likely as a No. 2 seed in the region.

WVU went 0-2 in the Big 12 tournament, with those two losses costing the Mountaineers four spots in the RPI rankings, which may have hurt WVU's chances at earning a No. 2 regional seed.

"Us being a three-seed instead of a two-seed stings a little bit based on what we've done, " Mazey said. "There are some reasons we will be very motivated out there."

NCAA regional play is a double-elimination format. If a team remains in the winner's bracket, it takes three wins to advance. Once a team drops to the loser's bracket, it takes four victories to win the region.

The winner of the Tucson Regional will advance to play the winner of the region hosted by North Carolina, the No. 4 overall national seed.