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Freshman JJ Wetherholt proving to be a staple in the WVU lineup

The West Virginia baseball team has had an impressive start to their 2022 season so far, standing at 20-10 while sitting atop the Big 12 standings after a series win at TCU and a series sweep against Baylor. 

While there has been much success at the team level, a bright individual piece has been freshman third baseman JJ Wetherholt. 

Wetherholt stands at 5-foot-10 and comes from Mars, Pennsylvania, a town just 93 miles from Morgantown. 

Wetherholt found himself in a starting role as soon as the season started, a position most freshmen do not find themselves in. 

Wetherholt has not disappointed, as he has batted .322 in 115 at-bats this season. Wetherholt typically bats second in the Mountaineer order, following the speedy Austin Davis. Wetherholt has shown himself to be a strong run producer, as he has driven in 22 runs and scored 30. 

In the first conference series at TCU, both Wetherholt and freshman first baseman Grant Hussey struggled to put hits together, as it was the first time they saw Big 12 pitching. 

“I honestly tried to make as much light of it as possible,” Wetherholt said.  

Wetherholt talked to Hussey about their short period of struggles and made sure to keep a confident mindset. 

“We’re playing Big 12 baseball,” Wetherholt said. “You know, it’s another level, it’s serious, but we’re supposed to be here. We knew we were supposed to be here and we’re good enough to compete with these guys, so I think when we sat back and relaxed a little bit, try not to get down on ourselves and just play for the team, things got better for us.” 

Before entering another Big 12 weekend series against the Baylor Bears, WVU faced in-state rival Marshall for a mid-week matchup. 

Wetherholt broke out of his mini-slump, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and four runs batted in as the Mountaineers cruised to a 17-8 win over the Herd. 

Wetherholt talked about his hitting approach and what he tries to do at the plate following the win against Marshall. 

“It’s pretty much always been, try to hit a line drive over the shortstop and just think up the middle,” Wetherholt said. “I never want to get too pull-happy; whenever I do, good things don’t usually happen. So, I’m a lot better, I’d say, to the opposite field than to the pull-side gap.” 

The left-handed third baseman took his success against Marshall and continued it into the Mountaineers’ recent weekend series against Baylor. 

Wetherholt registered four hits and an RBI in three games against the Bears. Wetherholt also made a diving play at third base to turn a big double play in Saturday’s win for WVU. The Mountaineers swept the Bears in three games, and the play from Wetherholt certainly helped that. 

As conference games speed up for the Mountaineers, the play and hitting of Wetherholt out of the two-spot will be vital against some of the top teams in the nation. 

Photo by Wesley Shoemaker

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