MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– The special moments just keep piling up for JJ Wetherholt as the sophomore second baseman is in the midst of the greatest seasons in program history.
Wetherholt currently leads WVU in hits (94), doubles (22), home runs (15), RBI (56) and stolen bases (35). Most of those numbers are also some of the best in the country.
He leads the nation in hits per game (1.81) and is No. 2 in batting average (.443). In the middle of May, Wetherholt was the nation’s leader in batting average at .470.
The Mars, Pennsylvania, native also checks in at No. 9 in hits, No. 12 in stolen bases and No. 16 in total bases (165).
“I look for a fastball and try to hit it to left field. That’s my approach this year and that’s what it was last year,” Wetherholt said in an exclusive interview for the WVU Coaches Show. “I’m a little bit more disciplined now so I’m not chasing as much and I feel like I’m better at my approach. If I’m in it, I’m going to stick to it no matter what and not let the pitcher dictate it.”
Randy Mazey said earlier in the year he wasn’t surprised by the type of season Wetherholt was having because he showed he was more than capable during fall ball. The skipper thinks Wetherholt would have had even more success as a freshman if he wasn’t dealing with a knee injury.
In 2022, he finished with a .308 batting average, 64 hits, five home runs, 39 RBI and 15 swiped bags.
“I think last year as a freshman, if a guy was coming inside on me I would drift away from that and it would cause me to not be as good. This year I’ve gotten better at hitting everything so just staying in that approach is paying off,” Wetherholt.
Mazey has referred to Wetherholt as a “freak” numerous times this season and that’s one of the best ways to describe the sophomore as he’s accomplishing things that have never been done before in Morgantown.
Before the start of the conference tournament, Wetherholt became the first player in Mountaineer baseball history to be named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year. He’s just the third player to earn a major postseason Big 12 award as Harrison Musgrave (2013) and Alek Manoah (2019) both earned Pitcher of the Year.
Wetherholt is also the only conference player to be named a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and Dick Howser Trophy. Add an invite to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Training Camp to his long list of accolades, too.
However, right in the middle season, it looked like Wetherholt’s record-setting campaign could come to an abrupt end. In the series opener at Oklahoma State, he suffered a thumb injury while stealing second base.
He only ended up missing five games, but Wetherholt admitted that at the moment, the thought did cross his mind that his injury could be season-ending.
“I was freaking out. The pain wasn’t as much as what I was freaking out about. I just knew what happened wasn’t supposed to happen, so I was kind of scared and thinking this could be it,” Wetherholt said. “It ended up being the best-case scenario which was awesome but there were a lot of emotions.”
If you didn’t know that Wetherholt went through that scary situation back in April, you would never know by watching him play.
He didn’t miss a beat once he was back in the lineup. In fact, it only took two pitches for him to knock an RBI double in his emphatic return against TCU. He went on to hit a grand slam the following game against Penn State.
Even in the face of adversity, the man from Mars continues to solidify his spot as one of the best in WVU baseball history while effortlessly blowing bubbles with his gum through it all.