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Chuck Landon: Why can't WVU get over losses to Marshall?

May. 18, 2013 @ 12:47 AM

Pardon me for asking, but ...

n What is the gestation period for new West Virginia University coaches to grow their excuse gland?

It appears to be about two months.

That's my guess based on first-year WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey's comments after losing to Marshall, 6-5, Tuesday in Beckley.

To Mazey's credit, there weren't any alibis after the Herd shut out his Mountaineers, 8-0, on March 19 in Charleston. And, naturally, there was nothing but Sunnyside remarks after WVU's 10-2 win over Marshall on April 2 in Morgantown.

But when the defeat in Beckley meant the Herd won the season series, 2-1, Mazey's excuse gland came to excretory life.

"It wasn't actually their bullpen," whined Mazey, referring to the five relief pitchers Marshall used in the victory. "They ran their weekend starters out there. But that's what they do. Their weekend starters always pitch against us and they pitched better than we did."

It took him only two months to age this vintage whine.

How disappointing.

I was optimistic after Mazey renewed the rivalry with Marshall and even agreed to a three-game series. But, alas, he, too, succumbed to the Mountaineer mind-set that there has to be an excuse anytime a WVU team loses to Marshall.

And, as usually is the case, Mazey didn't even get his information correct.

Weekend starters, Coach? Really? The starting pitcher was true freshman Alex Thackston, who has one collegiate win to his credit. He was also the starting pitcher in WVU's win at Morgantown.

For educational purposes, Marshall's weekend starting pitching rotation includes Wayland Moore, who started against Rice in the Herd's 4-2 loss Thursday night. Next, is ace Aaron Blair, who pitched against Rice Friday night and didn't even make the trip to Beckley for the WVU game. And, finally, there's Michael Taylor, who has started in seven consecutive Conference USA series.

Only Taylor pitched against WVU in Beckley and faced only four batters in 0.2 of an inning. In fact, Taylor yielded two hits and an earned run, so what is Mazey complaining about?

The usual.

Like all WVU coaches he expects merely to roll the ball out and beat Marshall. When that doesn't happen the excuses begin flowing like blue-and-gold Kool-aid because, of course, there's no way any Marshall team legitimately could defeat the mighty Mountaineers.

Sarcasm.

Just one more service I supply free of charge.

n Why was there an 18-wheeler with "Purdue" lettered on the trailer in the Huntington area recently?

It was the Boilermakers' football equipment semi. It was here to move former Marshall assistant football coach Gerad Parker's belongings to West Lafayette, Ind., where he now lives as Purdue's wide receivers coach.

That's how the big-time programs do business.

n What's the latest on Ironton High basketball star Zac Carter?

According to informed sources, he was headed to Morehead State after Tennessee-Martin signed a junior college point guard. But, then, Carter tweeted on his Twitter account that he definitely wasn't going to Morehead State.

Hmmm.

n Is DeAndre Kane's decision to transfer to Pittsburgh a smart move?

Probably not.

Sure, it's his hometown, but it's also where his old haunts are located and where his old running buddies live. Familiarity isn't always good.

Especially for an athlete who tends to live on the edge.

Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at 304-526-2827 or clandon@herald-dispatch.com.

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