Senior right fielder Austin Davis is having himself a red-hot April.
This past week, he made his history. He became the first Mountaineer to be named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Week since Darius Hill in 2019 after finishing 11-for-16 at the plate with 10 runs scored in four games.
“It’s a pretty big accomplishment. I didn’t know I was the first player since Darius Hill to win it, so I feel good about myself knowing I did something that hasn’t been done in a while,” Davis said in an exclusive interview for this weekend’s WVU Coaches Show.
After Sunday’s win over Baylor, Davis joked that he must not have “had his Wheaties” that morning because he finished a triple shy of the cycle at the plate. He must have dug into the cereal box before the midweek tune-up at Penn State, though, because he picked up right where he left off, hitting 3-for-5 with a pair of runs and a stolen base.
To say Davis has been executing in his role as the lead-off batter would be an understatement. He leads the team with 43 hits and 34 runs scored. He also checks in at No. 10 and No. 9 in the Big 12 in those respective categories.
“I guess just because Coach Mazey has so much faith in me and the team depends on me. I look at the rest of the lineup and I’m like okay if I just get on base the rest of the team is going to do their job,” Davis said. “It doesn’t matter where in the line-up, I know everyone is going to do their job so I just look at it from the aspect of I just have to get on and do what I can. It’s working out for me.“
The top of the order has been responsible for most of WVU’s recent production. JJ Wetherholt, Victor Scott, and McGwire Holbrook follow Davis in the batting order, and in the 8-4 win against Penn State, that top four combined for nine hits. Against Baylor over the weekend, the quartet recorded 22 hits and 13 RBIs.
Davis is one of WVU’s top all-around players as he gets it done all over the field. He has come up with some big catches on defense and has now swiped 20 bases this season, good for second on the team and in the league. He has 55 steals in his career, which puts him three away from No. 3 all-time in that category.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Davis said of his prowess on the base paths. “You know you are going to get picked off sometimes, that’s what Coach Mazey tells us. Just like from a hitting aspect, you know you are going to get out sometimes so you can get mad when you get out.”
He has only been caught stealing three times this season.
Last week was surely a confidence boost for Davis as he saw his batting average rise from .269 to .333 over the course of five games, but he isn’t paying much attention to that number. He knows it’s a long season and he can’t get too down on himself. He has depended on too much to lose focus now. The only thing currently on his mind is making sure his squad continues to make noise in Big 12 Conference play.
“I feel we gotta keep showing up and showing out every weekend no matter what because they voted us to finish last in the Big 12 or something like that,” Davis said. “We have to keep proving them wrong the whole season. Doesn’t matter if we win every game the rest of the season. We might as well keep on going. Why stop there when we can achieve more.”
Davis wasn’t far off, as WVU was picked eighth out of nine in the Big 12.
But now, WVU enters the weekend atop the league with a 5-1 record and it holds the longest active winning streak. It looks to add to its six straight wins when it welcomes #3 Oklahoma State for a three-game series beginning on Friday. The Cowboys are in a tie for second at 7-2.