MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The best time to analyze a recruiting class is not on Signing Day, but after the players gain experience at the collegiate level. On the baseball field, it is now an appropriate time to look at the highlights of the 2023 freshman class.

Even after a few major hits to the starting pitching rotation, the young crop of freshman pitchers will compete to replace Blaine Traxel and Ben Hampton.

Three freshmen position players were routinely seen in the starting lineup this season.

Catcher Logan Sauve, as well as utility-men Sam White and Ellis Garcia, each made 35-plus starts in the Mountaineer lineup as freshmen. For Mazey and his staff, it was not a surprise that their production matched their early usage.

“When the coaches voted on who our best freshman hitter was going to be, Sauve, Garcia, and White all got votes from the coaching staff,” Mazey said. “They’ve all been super, super steady. They are all really good players.”

Garcia rotated with White at third base, and he was often placed in the designated-hitter role. His best stretch came during a five-game hitting streak in March in which he elevated his batting average from .214 to .321, going 11-for-20 with seven RBI. He finished the season with a .260 average, 12 doubles and three homers.

Sauve came into his freshman season as the No. 1 catcher out of the state of Pennsylvania with high expectations. With graduate Dayne Leonard locking down catching duties, Sauve made most of his appearances at designated hitter, and didn’t disappoint. He hit .267 with a .402 on-base percentage.

“[Sauve hit] so many balls to the warning track this year. He could really have eight or 10 homers. He normally doesn’t strike out much. He can hit the ball behind runners when there are runners on first and second. He really is a prototypical two-hole guy.”

White was also a top-prospect at his position in his home region; He was the No. 1 catching prospect in Ontario, Canada, and played for the Canadian Junior National team in high school.

In the first month of the season, White recorded four multi-hit games, including a 4-for-5 performance at Arizona.

“We knew they were talented,” Mazey said. “[It is] hard to expect those types of results right out of the gate, but they’ve been so good for us. It’s encouraging not just for this year, but for the future.”

As for incoming freshmen, Mazey’s latest signing class includes seven pitchers and 10 position players. Pitchers Chase Meyer and John Glasscock, and infielder Armani Guzman, are each rated as Top 500 players nationally by Perfect Game. Meyer was rated as the No. 92 overall player in the country when WVU’s signing class was announced.

“In these times with Covid, and with everybody getting an extra year, most teams are older,” Mazey said. “Those are the teams that are winning, but we’re younger and winning. It makes me happy [now], and it [will make] me happy two years from now.”